ElectronicHealthcare 2(4) March 2004 : 84-86

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HIMSS Patient Safety Survey
HIMSS survey on patient safety in hospitals and hospital systems found that 89% of respondents had a patient safety committee and that strategic mission - rather than regulation - was driving their patient safety initiatives. The survey was released on August 25, 2003. The survey was sent to 4,500 people, but the response rate was only 5.5%. Some of the highlights of the survey are:

  • 97% of organizations had implemented at least one patient safety initiative.

Leadership of safety initiatives varied:

  • 19% were lead by nursing
  • 19% by patient safety officers
  • 18% by the risk management department
  • 16% by the CMO
  • 6% by the CEO

Patient safety committees have broad representation - most have at least five different departments represented; 95% had nursing representation, 92% had risk management, 80% included hospital executives. However, IT was represented on only 41% of patient safety committees, and the legal department on 23%. The most commonly cited motivation for patient safety initiatives was strategic mission (cited by 70%), followed by JACHO (68%), 39% said the IOM reports. (Note that respondents could select the top three factors.) Stand-alone hospitals were more likely to be motivated by JACHO, hospital systems by strategy. Essentially all (99%) say that technology can help with patient safety. Specifically, 93% feel technology can help with medication errors, 54% feel it can eliminate excessive time on administrative tasks, and 40% feel it will help reduce variability in care. Larger hospitals were more likely to include reducing variability in care in their responses. Only 8 % felt that technology could address staffing shortages. The most common metric used to measure improvement in safety was medication errors (used by 81%) followed by medical errors (47%). Only 33 % measured decrease in practice variation. The most common technologies already implemented to address patient safety include:

  • Providing physicians with web access to patient information (55%),
  • Automated medication cabinets (55%), and
  • Reporting systems for patient safety (53%)

However, when asked for specific technologies that will help patient safety, 80% cited bar codes for med administration (with 19% implemented) and 76% said CPOE (with 21% implemented). Access to capital and budgets were cited as the biggest obstacle to increasing investment in technology to improve patient safety (cited by 79%), followed by physician resistance (45%), maturity of technology (43%), and IT staff resources (37%). The bottom line: when measured on a scale of 1 (not at all prepared) to 7 (completely prepared) healthcare delivery organizations rated themselves at 4.38. This did not vary much by size, type of organization, or the respondent's role. (Source: HIMSS Patient Safety Survey, www.HIMSS.org)

Technology in Medical Practice/Productivity and Practice
Primary care physicians are gradual adopters of IT tools that enhance productivity and clinical decision support, and they plan to further invest in healthcare technology in 2004.

A national study conducted by the Pri-Med Institute in August 2003 found that almost 75% of physicians are influential in the decision-making regarding the purchase of healthcare technology products and services for their practices.

Some technology solutions are more readily embraced than others. More than two-thirds of physicians are currently using clinical knowledge reference tools and automated billing software systems in their practices. And approximately one-third have already employed dictation/transcription services, handheld or wireless devices and electronic medical records (EMRs). Yet far fewer physicians have adopted online tools that may enhance patient care such as disease management software (one in four report using) and e-prescribing systems (one in five have applied these in their practice).

While one in three primary care physicians report reading publications devoted to healthcare IT applications on a regular basis, nearly 80% say they rely primarily on conferences, trade shows and exhibits to gather information on IT products and solutions for their practice. Most physicians, however, exhibit low levels of familiarity with vendors of medical software and practice management applications.

Supplier news

EMC Honours AGFA Healthcare with Clinical Excellence Award
EMC Corporation, provider of information storage systems and software of healthcare industry, recently honoured Agfa Healthcare with its Clinical Excellence Award for innovation in digital imaging solutions. Agfa was presented with the award at the 89th annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Since the two companies began working together in 2000, Agfa has installed over one petabyte (1,000 terabytes) of EMC storage systems as part of its solution that integrates a healthcare provider's clinical, imaging, administrative/financial and research data into a consolidated information infrastructure. More than 100 healthcare facilities have benefited from this integrated solution including: Calgary Health Region (Alberta), Carilion Health System (Virginia), Elmhurst Hospital (New York), Exeter Hospital (New Hampshire), Kaiser Permanente (Colorado), Kishwaukee Health System (Illinois), North Bronx Healthcare Network (New York), Trillium Health Centre (Ontario) and Sentara Health System (Virginia).

Australian Government Agency, Centrelink, Builds a "Networked Virtual Organization" to Improve Service, Quality and Choice for Citizens
Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) has been working with the Australian Government Agency, Centrelink, as it evolves into a networked virtual organization (NVO) dedicated to "delivering a wide range of services to a wide range of people on behalf of a wide range of client departments."

Based on a Cisco-powered network infrastructure, Centrelink includes 1,000 points of service delivery through a multi-channelled distribution process that can be accessed by phone, online or via home or office visits. Centrelink comprises more than 27,000 staff members and agents and 300 customer service centres, and hosts the second-largest call centre network in Australia, handling more than 60,000 customers a week.

A key function is providing complex payments, income support and entitlement to millions of people. But on a larger scale, Centrelink - the country's largest statutory authority and its third-largest Commonwealth public sector employer - is working to transform the way government interacts with its customers by integrating federal, state and local government agencies and community-based organizations to deliver information and services.

Lanier Healthcare Canada Launches Cquence VXP
Lanier Healthcare Canada recently launched Cquence VXP, a state-of-the-art digital dictation and document workflow system. VXP allows users to dictate and receive digital voice files from any location, station, PC, telephone or portable dictation device. Its scalability and open architecture allow for a seamless integration and shorter implementation period. By leveraging current hardware investments, it allows for lower costs, as VXP clients can be deployed on most existing hardware. Documents are safe, as VXP features an electronic audit trail, hacker alerts and automatic disabling functions.

McKesson Announces Solution for Anesthesia Documentation
McKesson Information Solutions recently announced the addition of Anesthesia Documentation to its Horizon Surgical Managerª solution for reducing the variability and costs associated with surgical services. Anesthesia Documentation helps clinicians to identify and avoid potential medication errors via automated and improved documentation of the anesthesia dispensation record. With the average operating room generating 16 documents per surgical case, a fully automated record provides caregivers with access to complete and consistent information. The addition of this new capability enables caregivers to make more informed decisions and avoid costly case delays or cancellations due to lack of information.

Anesthesia Documentation is offered through a strategic agreement with DocuSys, Inc., a digital medical solutions company. Under the agreement, McKesson will private-label and offer the DocuSys Anesthesia Information System as an integrated, value-added module of Horizon Surgical Manager. McKesson will also provide integration between Anesthesia Documentation and other McKesson surgical services solutions where appropriate.

McKesson's Horizon Cardiology Debuts
McKesson Information Solutions recently announced Horizon Cardiologyª, a comprehensive, image-enabled workflow solution designed for the workflow and imaging needs of cardiology departments. Using Horizon Cardiology, healthcare organizations will be able to include integrated, digital cardiology information and images as part of the electronic health record, enabling simultaneous access and more informed clinical decision-making.

Horizon Cardiology closely follows the successful launch of Horizon Radiologyª and represents the next integrated solution in McKesson's expanding portfolio for managing all medical specialties across the hospital enterprise. This unique, enterprise-wide approach to diagnostic image capture, visualization and archive allows McKesson customers to take advantage of specialty-specific workstations while building one integrated image repository that manages all of the images captured throughout the care continuum.

Horizon Cardiology is offered through an agreement with Camtronics Medical Systems, Ltd., a subsidiary of Analogic Corporation.

Integrated Pharmacy Automation Results in Significant Savings for Wesley Medical Center
Just four short months after implementation, Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas has announced it has achieved a 211 % return on its investment in a new integrated pharmacy automation solution from McKesson. Wesley selected McKesson's MedCarouselª vertical medication storage and retrieval system, combined with Fulfill-RxSM inventory management and optimization system to provide the foundation for its new program. Independent consulting firm Shack & Tulloch, of Rochester, NY, conducted an independent study on Wesley's results, which also include significant improvements in patient safety and major reductions in operating expenses.

The findings, released during the 38th Annual American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Mid-Year Clinical Meeting in New Orleans, show Wesley has reduced picking errors - mistakes in the selection of medications - by 96%. It has also decreased the number of times meds have to be acquired outside the normal ordering process by 75%. Wesley, a 760-bed teaching hospital, implemented the new system in July to comply with a point-of-care medication-administration initiative designed to enhance patient safety.

GE Medical to Sell Spacelabs
GE Medical Systems, Milwaukee, will sell its Spacelabs Medical subsidiary for $57 million to OSI Systems Inc., Hawthorne, CA. GE Medical acquired Spacelabs - a vendor of patient monitoring devices and clinical information systems - last year when it purchased Finland-based Instrumentarium. Instrumentarium paid approximately $127.5 million for Spacelabs in 2002 and sold some of the company's product lines. In the information technology market, Spacelabs is best known for its clinical data repository

Edmonton-based Ormed Information Systems Ltd. has signed a strategic partnership with stag Philippines, Inc. which covers marketing, distribution and collaboration on technology and marks Ormed's initial entry into the Asian market. Also, in Hong Kong, Ormed's new corporate representative is Elfcorp International Limited. Elfcorp, a business development and strategic advisory firm, is assisting Ormed to expand its business internationally with a strong focus in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East regions by establishing country- specific distributors for its ORMED HIS software and ORMED X services and assisting Ormed in other strategic business relationships.


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