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GE partner allows real-time access to patient data

Waukesha, Wis. - Fairview Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio will become the first hospital to adopt a GE Healthcare technology that, when combined with an accompanying software application, allows obstetricians to remotely monitor the real-time condition of mothers and fetuses, and obtain other data from its labor and delivery units.

The information may include current and historical patient data, maternal contraction patterns, and electronic fetal heart rate monitoring - which is used to assess fetal well-being during labor and to accurately diagnose the incidence of fetal compromise.

Physicians can access this data with either personal digital assistants (PDAs) or smart phones, and the remote connections are made possible by the interface of the AirStrip OB, a product of the Texas-based MP4 Solutions, with GE Healthcare's Centricity Perinatal system.

The combined technologies are designed to eliminate the need for clinicians to page physicians or relay information about patient progress over the phone while waiting for physicians to arrive. In turn, obstetricians will be able to check on patients while making rounds at another hospital or while on call.

Jeff Leimgruber, chief administrative officer of Fairview, a 478-bed acute care hospital, said the technology would have applications for all types of pregnancies, from normal to complex. "The ability to monitor expectant mothers in the labor and delivery unit remotely means additional peace of mind for our patients during their birthing experience," he said in a statement.
MP4 Solutions developed AirStrip OB with the help of Microsoft's .NET framework, and designed it with wireless security components to help healthcare providers comply with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) guidelines.

Sales encore

GE Healthcare, the medical technology unit of General Electric Co., reports $15 billion in annual dales and employs more than 43,000 people.

Its Ohio deployment was the second major sale of a GE Centricity system this week. Earlier, the company announced that its Centricity Group Management product had been selected by Partners in Practice, a Florida management company, to help manage the accounts of its 100-plus medical practice clients.

Reimbursement and coding changes are altering the way physicians run their practices, and the electronic practice management product is designed to help them decrease claims rejection rates, conduct cross-practice reporting, and eliminate time-consuming paper reporting.

In terms of billing and scheduling, Partners in Practice cited the technology's ability to interface with vendors and to provide interoperability, which allows clients to use its management services regardless of the electronic health records they choose.

Thomas E. Blankenship, founder and CEO of Partners in Practice, said the GE product would permit physicians to spend more time with patients.

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