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​University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Wins National Award for Healthcare Information Technology

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Wendy Zellner
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PITTSBURGH, February 3, 1999 — University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Information Services Division (ISD) is featured in this week’s issue of Modern Healthcare for winning first place in the Return on Investment category of the Annual Innovation in Healthcare Information Technology Awards. These awards, sponsored by Modern Healthcare, a leading health care industry publication, and Cisco Systems, Inc., a major supplier of networking technology, acknowledge the importance of information technology in health care and recognize outstanding achievements in this area.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center won the Return on Investment award for the integration of information systems among its Oakland campus, UPMC South Side and UPMC Beaver Valley. This was the first phase of total system integration that will eventually include more than 16 hospitals, all UPMC satellite clinics, physicians’ practices and nursing facilities.

"University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is committed to the total integration of information systems across the enterprise. Without a cohesive flow of organizational, operational and clinical systems, our mission cannot be realized," stated Jeffrey Romoff, president of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "We are pleased that our pilot program in system integration has won national acclaim," continued Mr. Romoff.

The mission of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is to provide premier programs in patient care to all the citizens of Western Pennsylvania; to conduct biomedical and health services research aimed at prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease and disability; and to train future generations of health care professionals. To advance this agenda, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center must have the highest level of information accessibility and flexibility, with financial and clinical information accessible anywhere and at anytime across the System.

"The integration of the technical infrastructure and information systems provides many benefits to UPMC and its constituents. The benefits of integration are mainly in two categories—quality of care and cost-effectiveness," stated Dan Drawbaugh, chief information officer, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

"In winning this award, we are being recognized for creating a 41 percent return on investment by bringing UPMC South Side and UPMC Beaver Valley into the system’s network," continued Mr. Drawbaugh.

The cost of integrating these first two facilities was $2.25 million. This integration created an annual operating reduction of $300,000. These reductions were a result of data center consolidation, software and hardware maintenance discounts, and centralization of services. The capital cost avoidance over a three-year period was $4 million (mainly attributable to not having to renew contracts and prepare for Year 2000 independently). Therefore, the net present value of this integration over a three-year period was in excess of $3.5 million, bringing a 41 percent return on the original investment.

During the next year, five additional facilities will be integrated into the system, which will create a projected savings of $10 million over the next five years.

Mr. Drawbaugh concluded that although these cost-savings and other administrative efficiencies are very important to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the main beneficiaries of system integration are our patients who will benefit from a streamlined admission process and clinicians who will have immediate access to current and historic medical records.