July 2013
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LRH Named "Most Wired"


MOST WIRED LOGO Littleton Regional Healthcare has been moving from paper to an electronic system of more robust clinical patient information technology. As a result of these efforts LRH has been recognized as one of the Most Wired Small and Rural Hospitals. Health Care's Most Wired Survey, conducted between January 15 and March 15, asked hospitals and health systems nationwide to answer questions regarding their IT initiatives. Respondents completed 659 surveys, representing 1,713 hospitals, or roughly 30 percent of all U.S. hospitals.


"We are actually ahead of many hospitals in the U.S., and among one of two Most Wired small and rural hospitals in New Hampshire and one of twenty five in the Nation in 2013," according to Warren West, CEO. "We have made great strides moving technology and this confirms our progress."


The goal of moving away from paper and toward a fully electronic system is to improve clinical care, patient safety and overall quality of the patient's experience at LRH. Moving to an electronic medical record takes advantage of speed and accuracy of electronic communication.


Some of the electronic applications that LRH has implemented or is in development to implement include:

  • Physicians at LRH order patient tests from a computer in the hospital, their office, or remotely, saving time and increasing patient safety.
  • Patient test results are now sent directly into the electronic medical record allowing physicians quicker access to health related information for each patient.
  • LRH physicians now use an electronic transcription dictation system that uses speech recognition, allowing them to dictate via voice recognition.
  • Patient medical records can be delivered via e-delivery or on a CD as opposed to paper files, which expedites patient requests.
  • Patients can pre-register for their procedures via the LRH website making wait time shorter on the day of service.
  • LRH offers access to Wi-Fi for visitors throughout the hospital.
  • Patients can now enjoy the use of an iPad fully loaded with current newspapers, magazines, music and games. This program is coordinated by LRH volunteers and has been very well received by patients and their families.
  • Patients who are undergoing a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can now enjoy music of their choice from an iPod, making the procedure more comfortable.
  • Families of patients undergoing surgery are kept informed on the status of the procedure with the help of an electronic tracking board which is conveniently located in the surgical services waiting area.
  • LRH is in the process of developing a full electronic delivery of administering patient medications. This will increase patient safety related to medications.
  • LRH is also working toward a fully integrated Patient Portal, where patients can access their medical records remotely.

Some of the key findings from this year's survey include:  

  •  Sixty-nine percent of Most Wired hospitals and 60 percent of all surveyed hospitals report that medication orders are entered electronically by physicians. This represents a significant increase from 2004 results when only 27 percent of Most Wired hospitals and 12 percent of all hospitals responded, "Yes."
  • Seventy-one percent of Most Wired hospitals have an electronic disease registry to identify and manage gaps in care across a population compared with 51 percent of total responders.
  • Sixty-six percent of Most Wired hospitals share patient discharge data with affiliated hospitals, in comparison to 49 percent of the total responders. Thirty-seven percent of Most Wired hospitals do so with non-affiliated hospitals versus 24 percent of total responders.
  •  32 percent of Most Wired hospitals conduct controlled experiments or scenario-planning to make better management decisions.
  • 41 percent of Most Wired hospitals provide a patient portal or Web-based solution for patient-generated data.                

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009, better known as HITECH, is a Federal requirement that mandates hospitals and physicians not just adopt health IT, but use it in a meaningful way, according to Health Care's Most Wired 2013. Information technology plays an integral role in the successful transition to value based payment methods. IT is the infrastructure that allows all clinical and business units to translate data into information and to utilize that information as knowledge for improvement in the delivery of safe, high-quality patient care.


Warren West, CEO commented, "The bottom line for LRH is that we are doing everything that we can to enhance the patient care experience through electronic connectivity to patients with their physicians. We are taking advantage of electronic medical records and all forms of connectivity to ensure patient safety, high quality care, and evidence-based practices. We want to continue to make sure that LRH is the provider of choice in the North Country. 


LRH News

LRH Installing Biomass Heating System



The building that will house LRH's Biomass Heating System is under construction.


 In an effort to save approximately $400,000 annually, Littleton Regional Healthcare will replace at least 240,000 gallons of heating oil with a new biomass heating system being installed on campus at LRH. "We expect this project to pay for itself in about five years," stated LRH's CEO, Warren West. Biomass heating systems using wood chips provide energy at ¼ of the cost of oil, ½ the cost of natural gas and ½ the cost of wood pellets.


 LRH is believed to be the second hospital in Northern New Hampshire to convert to biomass heating and among other businesses and municipalities who have recently converted including the State of New Hampshire Grafton County Jail that includes a nursing home as well as other departments. National life insurance company out of Montpelier, VT recently converted as well.


The Messersmith Automated Wood Chip Heating Systems boiler installation is well underway and work is expected to be completed by mid December. This will complete the six month project at 2.8 million in major hospital infrastructure improvements.


LRH administration did not overlook any details in the planning and implementation of conversion to a biomass system. The new system will warm the hospital's air and provide hot water. Two biomass boilers will replace three existing oil burners, leaving two burners as a back-up to the new system.  The building that houses the boilers will stand at just 42.5 feet high, with a heat stack at 65 feet high, which is currently 25 feet lower than LRH's current heat stack.


The biomass operations will generate non-toxic ash which makes an excellent fertilizer for gardeners. This might work out well as LRH provides a Community Garden for gardeners who do not have space for their own garden, so they come to LRH to tend their own garden plot.


The project includes a large chip storage bin that can hold two semi-trailer loads of chips which would be enough for about one week during the peak heating season and approximately one half to one load per week during the remainder of the year.


It is also important to note that 90 to 99 percent of all particles will be removed before exhaust exits the stack which provides an opportunity to improve the local air quality.   The use of high tech emission control was part of LRH's overall plan to install the biomass plant, and was based on their desire to protect the environment.

Featured Physician

Summer is Not Over Yet - Stay Cool To Avoid Heatstroke


Dr Traci Wagner

Dr. Traci Wagner, Pediatrician

North Country Pediatrics

Heatstroke is caused by exposure to high temperatures or by doing physical activity in hot weather. You are considered to have heatstroke when your body temperature reaches 104 F (40 C) or higher. High humidity, certain health problems and some medications increase your risk of heatstroke. So does being a young child or older adult. If your body temperature continues to rise, emergency treatment is needed. Untreated heatstroke can cause damage to your brain, heart, kidneys and muscles. Heatstroke can lead to serious complications or death if left untreated.



Heatstroke symptoms include:

  1. High body temperature. A body temperature of 104 F (40 C) or higher is the main sign of heatstroke.
  2.  A lack of sweating. In heatstroke brought on by hot weather, your skin will feel hot and dry to the touch. However, in heatstroke brought on by strenuous exercise, your skin may feel moist.
  3. Nausea and vomiting. You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
  4. Flushed skin. Your skin may turn red as your body temperature increases.
  5. Rapid breathing. Your breathing may become rapid and shallow.
  6. Racing heart rate. Your pulse may significantly increase because heat stress places a tremendous burden on your heart to help cool your body.
  7. Headache. You may experience a throbbing headache.
  8. Confusion. You may have seizures, hallucinate, or have difficulty speaking or understanding what others are saying.
  9. Unconsciousness. You may pass out or fall into a state of deep unconsciousness (coma).
  10. Muscle cramps or weakness. Your muscles may feel tender or cramped in the early stages of heatstroke, but may later go rigid or limp.

When to see a doctor:

If you think you or another person may be experiencing heatstroke, seek immediate medical help. You should take steps to cool yourself or others off while waiting for emergency help to arrive. If you cannot transport the patient to the hospital, call 911 for emergency medical services.


Take immediate action to cool the overheated person while waiting for emergency treatment.

  1. Get to a shady or air-conditioned place. Remaining in the heat will worsen your condition. If you don't have air conditioning at home, go someplace that is air-conditioned, such as the mall, movie theatre or public library.
  2. Cool off with damp sheets and a fan. Place ice packs or cold, wet towels on the person's head, neck, armpits and groin.
  3. Take a cool shower or bath. If you're outdoors and nowhere near shelter, soaking in a cool pond or stream also can help bring your temperature down.
  4. Rehydrate. Keep in mind that the symptoms of heat-related illnesses are caused not only when you become dehydrated but also when you lose salt through sweating. Some sports drinks will replenish both water and salt. The amount you'll need to drink to rehydrate varies from person to person, so sip slowly and call your doctor if you're concerned. And, if you're on a low-sodium diet, be sure to check with your doctor before having drinks with a high salt content.
  5. Don't drink beverages with alcohol to rehydrate. These drinks may interfere with your body's ability to control your temperature.

Heatstroke is predictable and preventable. Take these steps to prevent heatstroke during hot weather:

  1. Wear loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Wearing excess clothing or clothing that fits tightly won't allow your body to cool properly.
  2. Wear light-colored clothing if you're in the sun. Dark clothing absorbs heat. Light-colored clothing can help keep you cool by reflecting the sun's rays.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature.
  4. Avoid alcoholic beverages. They can affect your body's ability to regulate your temperature.
  5. Take extra precautions with certain medications. Be on the lookout for heat-related problems if you take medications that can affect your body's ability to stay hydrated and dissipate heat.
  6. Never leave children or anyone else in a parked car. This is a common cause of heat-related deaths in children. When parked in the sun, the temperature in your car can rise 20 degrees F (more than 6.7 C) in just 10 minutes. It's not safe to leave a person inside a parked car in hot weather for any period of time, even if the windows are cracked or the car is in the shade. When your car is parked, keep it locked to prevent a child from getting inside.
  7. Take it easy during the hottest parts of the day. If you can't avoid strenuous activity in hot weather, follow the same precautions and rest frequently in a cool spot. Try to schedule exercise or physical labor for cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or evening. Taking breaks and replenishing your fluids during that time will help your body regulate your temperature.
  8. Get acclimatized. Limit the amount you spend working or exercising in the heat until you're conditioned to it. People who are not used to hot weather are especially susceptible to heat-related illness, including heatstroke. It can take several weeks for your body to adjust to hot weather.
  9. Be cautious if you're at increased risk. If you take medications or have a physical condition that increases your risk of heat-related problems, avoid the heat and act quickly if you notice symptoms of overheating. If you participate in a strenuous sporting event or activity in hot weather, make sure there are medical services at the event in case a heat emergency arises.


Provided by: Dr. Traci Wagner, Pediatrician

Littleton Regional Healthcare

North Country Pediatrics

580 St. Johnsbury Road

Littleton, NH 03561


LRH Events - Save the Date




Watch for Details!


LRH's 1st Annual Community Wellness Fair

Wednesday, September 25th

4 - 7 pm

 "Health Rocks" at LRH




LRH Education

A Message from LRH Education Department

Learning CPR and AED skills can improve your ability to take action in an emergency.  Patients have the best chance for full recovery from a cardiac arrest when cardiopulmonary and defibrillation are administered appropriately and effectively. The Education and Staff Development Department at Littleton Regional Healthcare is now offering American Heart Association (AHA) classes for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use.  The Heartsaver® CPR AED course uses interactive lessons and videos to teach CPR, AED and choking knowledge. Students will learn how to react in a cardiovascular emergency and activate the emergency response system.  This program is for individuals with limited or no medical training who want or need an AHA course completion card. You will learn:

  • Adult CPR and AED use
  • Adult choking
  • Child CPR and AED use (optional)
  • Infant CPR (optional)
  • Child choking (optional)
  • Infant choking (optional)

CPR instruction includes high-quality compressions, airway management, breathing, and how to use a mask. The courses are offered to non-clinical employees and volunteers at LRH as well as members of the community.  To find out more information about how to register for this and other courses offered by the Education and Staff Development Department, visit our web pages at http://www.littletonnhhospital.org/education.php


LRH Auxiliary Corner

Upcoming LRH Auxiliary Events - Mark Your Calendars

  • Stop by the Moose Ledge Gift Shop to get your raffle tickets for  chance to win a BEAUTIFUL hand-made quilt and throw pillow.  Tickets are just $3 for one, or two for $5!  Drawing will be in September, just in time for crisp fall weather!
  • LRH Auxiliary - Books Are Fun - Book Fair - Tuesday, September 3rd - 11 am - 6:30 pm, and  Wednesday, September 4th - 7 am - 1 pm.   Located in the Atrium outside the LRH Cafeteria. 

Stop by for a chance to do some early holiday shopping.  Lots of great books for everyone, plus a nice assortment of gift items.


Questions?  Please call Charron Sundman, Director  of Volunteer Services at (603) 444-9207.





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LRH Staff Recognition
Riley Vashaw, RN, BSN Appointed to Assistant Director of Outpatient Services


Riley Vashaw, RN, BSN and
Assistant Director of Outpatient Services

 Littleton Regional Healthcare is pleased to announce the appointment of Riley Vashaw, RN, BSN to Assistant Director of Outpatient Services.


Vashaw attended the University of New Hampshire where he received his Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing. After graduating he began his healthcare career at Fletcher Allen serving as a registered nurse in the medical cardiac intensive care unit. He later moved on to Maine Medical Center where he worked in the pediatric intensive care unit, until moving to Eastern Maine Medical Center where he served as an emergency room registered nurse.


Vashaw started at LRH in 2011 as a registered nurse in LRH's emergency department in the role of evening clinical supervisor, until his recent appointment as Assistant Director of Outpatient Services.


Carleen Whitcomb, Director of Outpatient Services states, "LRH is fortunate to have someone with Riley's passion for healthcare and patients, and the ability to lead in his role.   I look forward to working with him in his new role."

The Campaign for Hope
The Campaign for Hope

A New Oncology / Hematology Center at LRH



Wishing on a shooting star elicits memories of childhood, hoping for a special birthday gift, a victorious game or maybe a snow day to avoid a spelling test. As we get older, our hopes and wishes are more far-reaching - for a long and happy life, for our children to be safe and secure, for loved-ones to be healthy.


However, we know that we don't always get what we wish for....so,


When a serious illness impacts someone we care about, we naturally want the best care to be available here close to home. Our wish at Littleton Regional Healthcare is to create a magnificent, peaceful space for our Oncology / Hematology patients to receive life-sustaining and life-saving care. You can help make that wish come true!


Our new, completely remodeled department will provide comfortable surroundings for patients and their families, treatment facilities and equipment that will help them beat their disease and provide adequate space for staff to be the efficient, effective, compassionate caregivers they are. Natural light, a home-like feeling, space to have privacy if desired, and space to sit with one another or with family support. All of these will create an environment for healing, coping and coming together in support of exceptional care. 


The new suite will cost nearly $450,000, drastically increasing the department's total square footage. Our Campaign for Hope goal is to raise $75,000 to complete this project with all the medical equipment, furniture, art work, patient care items that will make this a truly special place. Won't you help? You can make a wish come true with your gift to the LRH Charitable Foundation. Your donation

will help pay for the purchase of:  


  • Ten large, comfortable recliner lounge chairs for patients to relax in during hours of medical treatments
  • Infusion machines and poles to hang medication
  • IPads for watching movies and reading while having infusions A private room for patients who need to lay down while receiving hours of treatment
  • Artwork to make the space homey and relaxing
  • Comfortable furniture for family and friends who accompany patients
  • Two patient nutrition stations where snacks and drinks can be stored and prepared for use during long hours of treatment.

Gifts of any size are welcome. Named gift opportunities are available. Please feel free to call Susan Durgy, MBA, CFRE, Director of Development, at 603-259-7785 to discuss how you can help.


Please click here and here to take a look at our New Oncology Center!


Make your gift today in support of our Campaign for Hope and make this wish come true! 



600 St. Johnsbury Road

Littleton, NH  03561

(603) 259-7785 www.littletonhospital.org


600 St. Johnsbury Road - Littleton, NH 03561 - (603) 444-9000 - littletonregionalhealthcare.org