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Jun 25 2012   9:03AM GMT

Medical device integration: Part 4 — Enterprise vision

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
Enterprise medical device integration, Enterprise planning, MDI, Medical device integration, Medical devices

Medical device integration: Part 4 — Enterprise vision

 Guest post by: Brian McAlpine, Director, Strategic Products, Capsule Tech, Inc.

The regulation and change taking place in health care today places pressure on hospitals to make a number of improvements to IT infrastructure in a relatively brief timeframe. While two sides to the debate remain on whether the current regulatory environment in health care is effective, there are providers that have taken a proactive approach to strategically align technology investments with medical device integration (MDI), going beyond the mandates to truly increase efficiency and improve patient care. These hospitals are the ones that recognize the need for an enterprise vision when implementing device integration. 

Having an enterprise vision is about creating an environment where device integration can scale across the entire hospital enterprise to meet the needs of multiple care environments, seamlessly and in alignment with the existing workflow to anticipate future demands. In order to develop and execute an enterprise vision, hospitals need to understand what to look for when implementing MDI, both from a clinical and IT perspective.

Clinical Perspective

Having a patient’s vitals immediately available in his or her record for review by the clinical staff enables physicians and other care management staff to make better and faster decisions based on accurate information. This replaces a manual, paper-based vital signs collection process that could take hours and is prone to documentation errors, omissions and delays.

Finding the right technology for device integration is critical, however, to ensuring successful adoption. If the solution doesn’t fit the way nurses or clinicians work, then the adoption rate suffers as does the enterprise vision. 

Typically there is no one MDI solution that will fit all care areas of the hospital.  Some care areas do very well with PC based solutions, such as the OR. Other care areas, such as med-surg, need a solution that will enable the collection, validation and submission of vitals right from the point of care. Care areas, such as the ICU and NICU, need a solution that is basically invisible; one that enables the automatic collection of vitals from all devices in the room so clinical staff can focus on the care of their patients.

Bottom line – there is no “one size fits all solution” that can work across the hospital enterprise.  Finding a solution that offers a variety of options for deployment and is flexible and scalable enough to allow hospitals to add and grow their solution as needed is the key.

IT Perspective

Along with clinical teams, the hospital IT staff plays an important role in developing and determining the ultimate success of the enterprise vision. More than ever, IT is working collaboratively with nurses and clinicians to integrate technologies such as MDI to drive efficiencies and improve patient care. From an IT perspective, hospitals implementing MDI should be aware of whether the solution can:

  • Work with all of the current systems and devices in the hospital
  • Be mounted wirelessly at the patient bedside to avoid IT having to pull network drops
  • Cache all data for security
  • Be managed from one Web-based console
  • Be field upgradeable so one aspect of the vitals capture platform can be changed without having to revamp the entire system

Dynamic Enterprise Vision

Using MDI across the enterprise helps the entire clinical staff focus on patient care, which equates to a better patient experience and overall outcome. As device integration continues to evolve, it will go beyond the simple connection of devices to systems. The next evolution will be using the data collected so it can be compared, analyzed and delivered back to the health care provider and executives in ways that can lead to predictive care.  While it will take time, it isn’t a matter of whether it can be done, but rather when it will be done. Hospitals that begin their MDI implementation with a firm grasp of this vision will pave the way for real changes in health care.  

For more information, please visit Capsule Tech, Inc.

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