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The following is about a brand new innovation by Healthsouth. I don't include the whole article, just part of it.

HealthSouth to build Internet-wired `digital hospital'

By JAY REEVES
The Associated Press
3/26/01 5:52 PM


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Rehabilitation specialist HealthSouth Corp. said Monday it will build a prototype for the medical center of the future -- a fully digital, automated hospital.

Paperwork will be kept to a minimum because written information and medical images normally kept in big metal filing cabinets will be stored in electronic form inside computers.

Information systems powered by software from California-based Oracle Corp. will tie the whole operation together.

"What we're doing now is ... making reality out of something that many people have talked about but no one has attempted," said HealthSouth chief executive Richard Scrushy.

Scrushy estimated the total cost of the hospital at between $100 million and $125 million. HealthSouth will close its current hospital in downtown Birmingham and transfer patients and equipment to the new site, reducing the net cost to between $40 million to $50 million.
HealthSouth stock prices rose 72 cents Monday to $13.70 a share in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Scrushy said having bedside access to a patient's complete medical records should reduce errors in dispensing medications. The hospital will be smaller than conventional facilities because less storage space is needed, increasing efficiency and cutting costs by as much as 20 percent.

"Our automated hospital isn't just about technology. It's about using the best technology available to provide the best medical care to patients," he said.

Health care analyst Peter Emch of Credit Suisse First Boston said digital record keeping should speed up doctors' rounds by making it easier for them to access patient documents.

"Certainly the acute care hospital industry could use modernization," he said. "Many elements in the design make sense."

Dr. Swaid N. Swaid, a neurosurgeon who is working as a consultant to HealthSouth, said the e-hospital should provide safer, more efficient care.

"To marry technology -- the digital age -- with medicine is exciting," he said. "I think it's going to be a tremendous way to provide patient care that is superior to anything we have seen."

HealthSouth is a leading provider of outpatient surgery, imaging and rehabilitation care. The company has more than 2,000 locations in the United States and abroad.

The project could also boost Oracle, which this month said it would eliminate 900 jobs to bolster profits. The company is based in Redwood Shores, Calif.

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