Tornado Destroys Hospital, not EHR

DP - Case Study


And Then The Storm Hit

Dottie Bringle, R.N., is chief nursing officer of St. John’s Mercy Hospital in Joplin, MO. She was on her way to Ireland for a vacation in May when the devastating Joplin tornado struck. She rushed back home to find that her hospital had been destroyed – but that all patient health records were safe because they had been stored on an EHR. Here is Ms. Bringle’s story.

We [previously] decided to go with the “big bang” approach and transition the entire hospital to EHRs at once. When St. John’s transitioned to EHRs, it was somewhat overwhelming and was fairly time consuming. A lot of training took place prior to the actual implementation to ensure that hospital staff was as prepared as possible before going live.

I wasn’t convinced – I knew that EHRs were important for patient safety, but thought that it would slow down patient care.

And then the storm hit. [Paper] medical records were flying all over the community.

Tornado Destroys Hospital, Not EHR System

A command center was set up at Memorial Hall, the local auditorium, along with…

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1.  Dottie commented that she thought the EHR system would slow down patient care.  Do you think that this would be a common assumption for healthcare providers?  Why?

2.  What do you think was one of the greatest benefits to the EHR system at St. John’s Mercy Hospital?

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