KAREN FOX: The Beacon Community
of the Mississippi Delta is a large geographic community
over 18 counties. It’s a farming community. It’s probably the most fertile
land in the country. In the Delta, we have one
primary care physician to every 10,000 patients. And so people don’t catch
the chronic diseases. Our in-patient days
are a lot greater, our emergency room visits
are a lot greater, because there’s not enough primary health care
to go around. The main innovation that
we’re putting together is to have the physicians be
able to communicate with each other,
and to communicate with their hospitals
and their laboratories and their health centers
around the Delta, to be able to talk
to one another and share data. It normally took us
about 8 weeks to put a health care
physicians’ group up on electronic health records. And these providers,
it takes about 2 weeks. They know how much it
will help them. We’re already seeing advances
in how economical it is, how efficient physicians are
in seeing their patients. We really think Beacon Community
will allow physicians to be
a lot more efficient, to catch things that they
wouldn’t have caught, to see more patients in a day, because they’re aided
by this technology. It’s really going to help the
patients make a better decision, because they’re
getting better information.