SIKESTON - As always, the Missouri Delta Medical Center Benefit Ball is being held for a worthy cause: "The goal this year is to raise money for the MUSE Cardiology Information System," said Nicole Cozean, co-chair for the event.
"It's an electronic, digital EKG system," explained Dr. Ali Khan, cardiologist at MDMC. "It will save money and time and will help patients."
The MUSE system's archive feature is the primary improvement over the current system, according to Khan. "The best thing is access to old records - it provides instant access," he said. "That's the key element: it will save time."
And time, when it comes to heart attacks and other heart problems, is critical.
With the current system staff must dig for old EKGs stored on paper to compare against the new EKGs. "With this system, instead of a couple of hours, you'll be getting it in seconds," Khan said. "It records all the EKGs digitally and you can access them on the computer."
MUSE stores two years worth of EKGs. "You can just type in the number of the patient on the computer and it brings up their old EKGs," he said.
Khan said MUSE archive feature also reduces the chance for the loss of old records through human error. "It will help organize things a lot better," Khan said.
The hospital currently averages about 25 EKGs on a daily basis but that number can go as high as 100 during a single weekend day. "We do 1,000 EKGs every month," Cozean said.
In addition to being a valuable equipment upgrade, the hospital is required to implement electronic records by 2006, according to Khan.
Additionally, MUSE includes billing code features that could potentially save the hospital thousands of dollars, according to Cozean.
The system complies with requirements mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 which includes safeguards for patient privacy among other things.
MUSE automatically compares a patient's previous EKGs with the new one and will improve diagnostic capability as the system has improved logarithms, Khan said.
Cozean said the hospital is hoping to raise a minimum of $126,000 with the advance mailing and benefit ball as that is the cost of the basic MUSE system.
If additional money is raised, however, "we can buy additional components to enhance the system," she said.
Add-on enhancements include features such as a remote system for ambulances and remote access for physicians over the Internet.