Mercy Health Love County - News

Hospital Revamping Computer Technology

Posted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009


Caption: James Riggs

A specialist at keeping up with the “next best thing” in computer technology has joined Mercy Health/Love County Hospital, Clinic, and EMS.

 James Riggs is the first manager of information systems. He will be exploring and implementing ways to use computers to serve patients faster and safer throughout the institution. 

“I’m thrilled that James has the desire to come here and help enhance the quality of services to our patients and practitioners,” said Richard Barker, administrator and CEO.
“He has surveyed the whole facility to study the equipment and systems we have and suggest updates and improvements. We need to be able to store and retrieve records across all departments electronically,” Barker said.
Riggs started work in May with almost 10 years of experience in the field, the last seven in the Mercy information systems division of Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore.
From a list of a dozen projects, Riggs will begin by creating the “paperless” emergency room.
“The physicians and physician assistants are all aboard on this. They will be given tablet p.c.’s on which to mark patient symptoms, creating an instant digital record and eliminating the forms that had to be filled out by hand and coded into a computer by someone else. This will reduce potential entry and medication errors,” Riggs said.
Riggs’ job on the project is to select and program the tablets and set up a wireless data link to a central system.
Another project involves establishing data links between the emergency room and clinic. “Physician assistants in the ER now run to the clinic to grab records,” Riggs said.
Part of what will be replaced or updated will be “Riggware,” the original clinic software created in 1998 by Riggs’ father, Bob Riggs.
The elder Riggs spent 25 years at Mercy Memorial as director of data processing. He brought in the first computer system and the first non-operator phone system, the son recalled.
“I remember spending time in the server room when I was little and, despite my dad telling me not to, pushing the power button on the system,” James Riggs said. 
Riggs graduated from Plainview High School in 2000. He has studied business management at Murray State College and plans to transfer to a four-year university to complete a bachelor’s degree in management of information systems.
His love of computer technology led him during high school to a job at Staples, where he managed the electronics department and acquired the coveted ability to talk to customers and end users in “plain language.”
That makes him popular at the hospital, clinic, and emergency department. The feeling is reciprocal. “I like this friendly place. It has a relaxed environment and camaraderie. It’s like going to grandma’s house,” Riggs said.
Riggs is advising a new information technology committee made up of
Dr. J.T. O’Connor, chief medical officer; Connie Barker, clinic director; Connie Graham, business office supervisor; Cassandra Sallee, physician assistant; and Megan Yow, registered nurse.
Ex officio members include Richard Barker; Tad Hall, emergency services director; and Rick Stephens, director of radiology.
Riggs and his wife Lyndsay live in Lone Grove. She is the granddaughter of Frank and Helen Armstrong of Marietta and teaches special education at Lone Grove High School.
In his spare time, Riggs is a model train buff.