Special report: Integration key to ending "communication chaos"

by Diana Bradley, Staff Writer | July 23, 2012
From the July 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Meanwhile, integrating consumer technologies like smartphones with patient monitors presents an entirely different challenge.

“Health care is not quick to adopt new or consumer technologies, which makes sense from a patient risk and a product development perspective,” says Enebo. “It takes time to get through the FDA process for those types of things.”

While the uptake of consumer technologies creeps at a sluggish pace, the technology itself evolves tremendously fast. Companies like Spacelabs are developing ways for health care providers to adopt and integrate this technology earlier and more efficiently.

Last July, Spacelabs created ICS XPREZZ - a mobile application for the iPad. This provides clinicians with the ability to view their patients’ comprehensive monitoring information anywhere they have mobile access. Patients’ information remains secure under ICS Xprezz, because information is processed within the hospital’s secure infrastructure. Further to this, patient data is never saved on the iPad.

Spacelabs’ ICS Xprezz
mobile app for iPad.

“If, as a doctor, I am at the beach or the golf course or simply at home with my kids and I get an urgent call about one of my patients, the ICS XPREZZ enables me to see my patient’s information,” says Enebo. “I am not having a nurse at the bedside trying to describe a waveform to me; I can actually see it and make a better assessment of the patient’s condition or what’s happening with him or her.”

Philips is also working toward integrating patient monitoring systems across multiple modalities, equipping health care facilities with a “one-pipe connection” to share data with enterprise systems such as the hospital EHR.

“There is more of a focus on interoperability; Philips certainly has a large focus on this,” says Greg Eckstein, director of solutions marketing, patient care and clinical informatics at Philips. “Some of our interoperability focus is across devices and departmental level systems, and some of it is interoperability with EHRs, which in turn gives the clinicians better information.”

Filtering and focusing messages
Further to converging systems, information still needs to be filtered to the appropriate person. But determining who has the final say on what alerts are important and whom they are going to is another riddle to solve. For medical device manufacturers, it is difficult to systematically reach these decisions, since they would be largely presumption based, according to Enebo.

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