The Louisiana State University Health System, which has operated with paper records to keep track of patient care, has launched what authorities promise will eventually grow into the nation's first public statewide electronic medical system.
Called PELICAN -- Patient Electronic Health Information and Care Network -- the system is online at LSU Health Shreveport, which includes a teaching hospital and associated clinics. It eventually will be expanded to include all of the system's public hospitals and affiliated clinics, including those in New Orleans. System spokesman Charlie Zewe said the entire system could be linked as early as next summer. A written release from the system promised full connection "over the next 18 months."
LSU System President John Lombardi called the network "an exceptional achievement" that eventually will reach 500,000 patients treated annually in the LSU System. "The widespread availability of common medical records will enable much more effective utilization of health care resources," he said.
Lombardi also said the system will make essentially real-time clinical data available to researchers based in the hospitals and at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge.