May 25th, 2019
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05/15/2006 - INHS, NIC, VPnet Launch Courseware Partnership

Thanks to VPnet (Virtual Possibilities Network), INHS (Inland Northwest Health Services, and North Idaho College (NIC) are collaborating at high speed and in real time. INHS is providing NIC nursing students access to the Meditech® system which allows nursing and other health professional students to learn how to use the system before they enter the workforce. This training increases the student’s value at graduation because they won’t have to learn the system on-the-job.

The Meditech® system is used for all case documentation -- including health history, routine care, labs, diagnostic reports and medication administration -- in thirty-four area hospitals, fifty clinics, and four hundred physicians’ offices. NIC was the first in several planned INHS, VPnet, and University collaborations. Planned users include the Intercollegiate Nursing School, WSU Spokane School of Pharmacy, SCC, and Whitworth Colleges – or any VPnet member who needs this service.

The Meditech® educational system includes class modules -- courses developed by INHS which owns the intellectual property. To facilitate the collaboration, INHS places hardware -- a VPN device that encrypts data -- at the school. INHS configures the device. The courseware is maintained on an INHS server so students can access the Meditech system remotely at any time and can learn and review the entire process as needed. INHS contributed $243,000 to make the Meditech electronic patient records system available to the NIC Nursing Department. The total includes equipment and intellectual property, in-kind service, and the value of licenses that the school doesn’t have to buy. Each collaborating institution will receive equal value. “This is part of INHS’ value to health care,” says Dan Herbert, Manager of Network Services. “Now we can extend it to the entire Inland Northwest educational community.”

Thanks to pioneering work in health care information networks by INHS, the Northwest has been declared a Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) Center – one of only two currently in the United States. RHIO’s facilitate the movement of electronic medical records between physicians, labs and hospitals across large geographic areas. Electronic records transfer means timely receipt of information, no lost records or images, and fewer medical errors. INHS is teaching entities in other areas how to create and maintain a reliable and secure health care network.

INHS has grown hugely in the last few years. The IT department alone has expanded from 130 to 220 people, and they expect to add upwards of 100 more positions in the next eighteen months, according to Herbert.

INHS is a non-profit corporation sponsored by Spokane’s hospitals to provide collaborative health care services. INHS companies include St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute, Community Health Education and resources (CHER), Children’s Miracle Network, Northwest TeleHealth, Information Resource Management, and Northwest MedStar. For more information, visit

Billie Moreland
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