Wednesday, January 27, 2016

IHE Connectathon day 3: Patient Care Devices

Day 3 of the IHE connectathon in Cleveland at the HIMSS global center for health innovation
One of the several bed-site monitors that was
tested and verified for interoperability
resulted in 2004 tests being performed so far, of which 90% have been verified. A remarkable feat; imagine all of the hours and money saved by this effort that otherwise would have been spent resolving issues in the clinical environment.

One of the major benefits of healthcare IT technology is integration of Patient care devices, such as infusion pumps, EKG and other vital monitors, and even implantable devices such as pacemakers. I witnessed personally only a few weeks ago, when my spouse was admitted in the ER for an emergency procedure, how the medications and IV pump information was entered manually in the EMR at the bedsite. The vital monitoring system was not integrated either, a nurse would read the temperature, oximetry and pulse from the monitor every hour and enter that manually as well. 

In contrast, here at the test floor in Cleveland, I see the vendors with the same equipment, which interfaces seamlessly to the EMR using the applicable profiles. The good news is that our community hospital had at least a closed loop medication system as the meds were barcoded, as well as the patient’s wristband to verify and record the dose. But further integration would be so much more effective.

The PCD domain was formed 10 years ago, almost ten years after IHE started its roots in radiology and it has come a long way. For example, in addition to recording clinical measurements and data, there is now also a profile to facilitate managing the devices such as unique device identification, real-time location tracking, hardware/software configuration and patch management, battery management, and more. It is not only important to share information between medical record systems electronically, the automated acquisition and recording of the input data into these EMR’s is even more important. I surely hope it is just a matter of time before what is demonstrated and verified in Cleveland will become the norm in the very near future.