Ever feel like the more your department budget shrinks, the more the demands on your time grow? In today’s healthcare environment, many have to do more with less, work harder and make smarter choices about how we go about meeting responsibilities. Smart choices are particularly important when all-too-scarce healthcare dollars are in play for a major technology initiative like medical device integration (MDI). That’s why it’s critical to take a long, hard look at not only at the type of MDI to implement, but also at what devices to integrate and how to plan for a positive impact on workflow.
Before Sentara Healthcare embarked on a major multi-phase MDI implementation, the organization took an in-depth look at their facility to determine:
- the project’s specific goals
- what equipment and IT infrastructure was currently in place
- plans and goals for future technology
- the needs of all clinical equipment users
- Devices with high volumes of data. In particular, physiological monitors are used on most patients across the hospital and produce tremendous amounts of information on an ongoing basis. Automating this data flow will save clinicians hours of transcription time.
- Legacy devices. Do you plan to replace these devices in the near future and does your MDI vendor support them in the meantime?
- Technology expansion. If your hospital is likely to expand technologies in the near future, a vendor neutral MDI solution may be the best choice. Vendor neutral solutions support the movement of patient data regardless of the type or model of medical device being used or the information system you have in place.
- Device parameters. Does your medical team need all the parameters and measurements from a particular device in the EMR? Probably not. Include only those that are necessary today to limit the traffic on your hospital network, but make sure others can be added easily in the future as needed.
- Units of measure. Do all devices reporting to a particular EMR field share the same units of measure, such as Fahrenheit or Celsius? If not, pick a consistent unit, and convert your measurements for a standardized presentation in the EMR.
- Data capture frequency. How often does the patient data need to be charted? The time interval requirements will vary among each care environment or application to which you plan to send patient and device data. One to five minute intervals may be acceptable inpatient charting, but immediate data delivery is required for a high priority device alarm to your alarm and alert system
- Naming conventions. Make sure the name of locations such as hospital rooms, beds, and units is standardized throughout the facility and therefore in your EMR.
For more information about Sentara’s ambitious MDI implementation, read the recent case study in Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare (PSQH) magazine here.Has your hospital integrated any medical devices into an EHR or other hospital IT system? Share your tips for maximizing the impact of a MDI installation.