Industry events like HIMSS are not just about papers, presentations, and new products. They also represent an important opportunity to connect with peers, to learn what’s on their minds and to put the event’s proceedings in a larger context. After all, no man (or woman) is an island, as the saying goes.
As healthcare IT professionals we all know that no patient’s medical data should be an island either. Putting care decisions in a similar larger context is important. That’s why one of the key goals of a Medical Device Information System (MDIS) must be to avoid communication of isolated bits of data and to aggregate and connect information—like industry members at a convention—to create a broader landscape of meaning.
How will the evolving MDIS create these connections? Vendor-neutral technology is central. A true device integration system must support all devices across the hospital, bring all data together, and neutralize, manage, and store it as a working system, not through a disconnected group of isolated solutions. While allowing data access at the point-of-care, it must easily enable clinicians to connect and interact with that data at the point of consolidation—often the EMR—where it has been standardized and incorporated into a more universally accessible patient record.
This system directly connecting man and machines—doctors, nurses and bedside devices—also requires a whole system of underlying connections. Clearly, medical device integration connects patients with their bedside equipment and should accurately associate device data with that patient. Now with Capsule SmartLinx MDIS this is managed with the sophisticated yet easy to use Vitals Stream application for continuous data collection in high acuity areas and the Chart Xpress application for periodic data collection.
Device drivers, of course, play a crucial role by connecting device data to the network. An MDIS must have a broad and deep library of this software; all developed according to industry best practice guidelines. Naturally, it takes sophisticated underlying network infrastructure to connect the MDIS to individual devices and move data rapidly and securely to its endpoint.
To manage a system, it also takes a centralized access point for the IT staff, which SmartLinx accomplishes through a simple web-based application.
As MDIS technologies evolve, a growing number of these connections may be built into the system itself. Our new Vitals Plus, shown at HIMSS as a work in progress, is one example. It incorporates built-in patient sensors for acquiring bedside data without the need to attach external technology to the Capsule system.
Are any of the devices in your hospital connected to the EMR? Has this helped give clinicians more time to connect with patients?