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Apr 10 2012   11:17AM GMT

Medical device integration: Part 1 – Solving the issue of manual charting

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
Manual charting, Medical device integration (MDI)

Guest post by:  Susan Niemeier, RN, BSN, MHA, Capsule Tech, Inc. 

As more and more hospitals prepare to meet meaningful use requirements and, more importantly, set goals to improve efficiency and patient outcomes, many are taking the next step. The first step was to transition from an archive of paper files to the EHR system. The second step that’s currently underway is to derive the full value of the EHR system. In this first post of a four part series, we’ll look at the challenge nurses and clinicians are still facing when stuck in paper-based mode; having duplicate processes because they have to manually chart patient vital signs and then manually enter that data into the EHR.

Manual charting

Let’s look at the current process of manual documentation. In non-critical care environments, such as med-surg, nurses and nurse technicians collect patients’ vital signs and write them on paper. These handwritten values must then be manually keyed into the patient’s electronic record. This duplicated process reduces clinical staff time available for patient care. It also leads to a significant lag between the collection of vitals and their availability in the patient’s record for other care providers. Ultimately, this all means less time at the bedside, a greater potential for errors and delays in decision making that could affect patient outcomes

Medical device integration (MDI) automates the transfer of vital signs to the EHR system. This opens up the opportunity for new safety and efficiency initiatives in monitoring patients. Decision making is also improved. Why? Because accurate vital signs are in the patient’s record in almost real-time. This means physician and care management teams can make decisions based on the true status of the patient and even be alerted to early warning signs of patient deterioration.

By importing vital patient data into the electronic record in near real-time, MDI transforms the delivery of patient care and communication patterns amongst clinicians around patient care. The data is more timely and reliable, which results in the avoidance of inaccuracies and the omission of errors. One of the leading providers of health care solutions in the U.S. shared the following about its MDI implementation of Capsule’s Mobile Vitals Plus solution in over 100 hospitals:

“Following our MDI implementation, nursing leadership recognized a dramatic improvement in patient care and time at the bedside. Physicians noticed a dramatic improvement in near-real time access to data in the patient’s record. In fact, in comparison to the baseline state of vital sign collection and documentation in our med-surg units, we reduced average time to get vitals into the record from 41 minutes to a mere 23 seconds after implementation.”

Real-time data capture is crucial to providing clinically excellent care while also improving hospital efficiency – all while ensuring clinician satisfaction. The value proposition is met because the clinician is now removed as the human bridge linking data to the EHR making vital sign documentation a by-product of care.

In part two of this series, we’ll uncover the myths associated with the use of hardware in conjunction with medical device integration. Part three will showcase why clinician workflow should focus on the patient, not devices, while part four will close with how hospitals can create an enterprise vision for medical device integration.

For more information, please visit Capsule Tech, Inc.

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