Porter Struggles With Electronic Records System, Sees Big Cost Overrun

John S. McCright | Addison County Independent | January 10, 2013

Porter Hospital has fallen behind in its multi-year effort to implement an electronic medical records system designed to improve patient care by replacing outdated paper recordkeeping.

Officials at the Middlebury hospital said they underestimated the technical complexity of rolling out new computer hardware and software to the institution’s various departments and 11 physician’s practices around the county, and they misjudged the speed with which they could get staff up to speed on a system that introduces not just procedural changes but also cultural ones.

In total, the hospital and its practices provide primary care for at least three-quarters of everyone in Addison County. “I can’t think of anyone who is not affected by this, it changes just about everything,” said Porter Vice President Jean Cotner. “Electronic medical records replace manila folders. That changes how communication happens, how we document patient care, how we interact with the patient and with each other.”...