Brief: HealthSouth, Oracle to build 'digital' hospital

By Linda Rosencrance, Computerworld |  Software

Hospital chain HealthSouth Corp. and software manufacturer Oracle Corp. are teaming to build what they say is the world's first all-digital, automated hospital.

The hospital will be built near HealthSouth's headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., and will cost $100 million to $125 million. It's expected to be completed in 2003, HealthSouth said in a statement.

The technological features will include patient beds with display screens connected to the Internet; electronic medical records storage; digital imaging instead of traditional X-ray film; and a wireless communications network that will allow doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to securely update and access patients' medical records using handheld devices.

"This will be the hospital model for the world," HealthSouth Chairman and CEO Richard Scrushy said in the statement. "By creating the first automated hospital . . . we will demonstrate how technology can lower health care cost, greatly reduce human errors and provide patients with the best medical care available."

Scrushy said other manufacturers of hospital equipment, supplies and services, including beds, surgical instruments, laboratories and pharmacies, will also operate off the Oracle platform.

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