03 Jun Children’s Medical Hospital of Wisconsin Goes Digital
MILWAUKEE, WI – It’s Saturday night. Your 4 year old has stomach pains, and you drive to the emergency room. You check in and provide all sorts of personal medical information including her medical history and your billing and insurance information. Meanwhile your child is in pain, and you try to remember if you told the person at the front desk everything. Then you wait; maybe an hour or two as the triage nurse does not see bleeding or an apparent emergency. Next you meet a doctor who knows nothing about your child and you have to go through a long process of describing again what is wrong and her medical history. Then the tests begin. This scenario is about to change for the better.
GE Medical Systems Information Technologies announced today they are teaming up with the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to create one of the first state-of-the-art digital and wireless pediatric hospital that will automate end-to-end clinical interactions and patient records to deliver a safer, more effective and more efficient healthcare experience for the patient.
This initiative, will eliminate the need to wait for paper-based charts and records. The new system that GE deploys in cooperation with the hospital will store patients’ medical histories, laboratory test results, diagnostic images (such as x-rays) and other information so that the treating physician and healthcare workers can have instant access to the life-critical information.
What makes this unique is that information will be available whenever and wherever it’s needed. Healthcare workers will have web access, as well as access to all medical files whether on specialized computer systems, handheld, tablet or wireless computers. The result is real-time patient treatment and diagnosis. The hospital will even integrate a bedside health monitoring system so that patient information will be instantly up-to-date.
The hospital will go live with its new system on December 9, 2004. The current patient records system installed three ago by healthcare technology vendor Eclipsys will be replaced. The entire project is estimated to take 4-5 years and will result in a showcase hospital for GE Medical Systems. GE and the hospital will work together to further develop new technologies and to enhance applications for specific pediatric use. Phase one will begin in the emergency room but will include surgical areas, heart care, radiology and pharmacy. At the end of the process the hospital will be nearly paperless.
John Vice, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital and Health Systems said, “This will become a model for all other pediatric hospitals to follow. By combining GE’s technical expertise and our clinical expertise, we expect to advance the delivery of pediatric care in Wisconsin, throughout the Unites States and beyond.”
Vice also said, “We have been buying best of breed solutions from boutique software providers and have been trying to make them work together. We think that there will only be a few survivors in this market, and we want to align with a vendor we can have a long-term relationship with and who is a global player.” Patient safety will be improved and there will be efficiencies and cost savings as well.
Dow Wilson, the recently appointed president and CEO of GE Medical Systems Information Technologies added, “This will be great for the future of healthcare. The unique technology that the hospital will have will provide real-time access for quality healthcare in the fastest possible way. We look forward to working with the hospital to develop new technologies to deliver real-time medicine. Information needs to move as fast as the patient moves for better healthcare and a more efficient process.” He also said, Doctors and nurses should have all the information they need about a patient, when and where they need it.”
The GE technologies at the hospital will include Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), which enables doctors to enter orders for treatments or medications on a computer. The system will then link to the pharmacy system so errors often associated with paper forms can be avoided. Warnings will be issued if a doctor prescribes a drug that might interact with other medications the patient is taking or to which the patient has an allergy. The hospital will also be able to digitize medical images using a technology called Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). X-rays, MRI scans, ultrasound studies, and other diagnostic pictures will be stored so healthcare workers can quickly access and review then rather than having to wait for films to be retrieved from storage.
“A fully integrated electronic medical record system will be a tremendous advantage to busy physicians and nurses and a real benefit for young patients,” said Carl Weigle, M.D., medical director of information services at Children’s Hospital.
The cost of the project and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to Vik Kheterpal, M.D., general manager of clinical information systems for GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, GE had to meet 490 specific criteria developed by the hospital’s IT department and administration. The new systems will work with multiple computer platforms and will support Sun’s Java and Microsoft’s .Net protocols as well as SQL Server Oracle databases. There will be both on-site and off-site data storage and recovery available as well as redundant systems for backup. GE and the hospital will also work with outside vendors such as Cisco or Dell to supply the computing hardware, storage, networking, as well as wireless devices necessary for this project. Patients will also be able to access their personal records through a secure web portal.
Mike Klein is Editorial Director of the Wisconsin Technology Network and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.