Siemens to tackle hot issues addressed by Institute of Medicine report

Malvern 08 March 2001Information technology solutions from Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services Corporation help health care organisations address concerns and recommendations in a report published early March by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), titled Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health Care System for the 21st Century. In this report, the IOM's Committee on the Quality of Health care in America issued 13 recommendations intended to improve the state of health care in the United States. In particular, one recommendation called for "a renewed commitment to building an information infrastructure to support health care delivery, consumer health, quality measurement and improvement, public accountability, clinical and health services research, and clinical education, with the goal of eliminating most handwritten clinical data by the end of the decade".

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Siemens' Electronic Patient Record (EPR) Solution offers health care providers a way to deal with this challenge via its clinical repository that provides a longitudinal view of the patients' lifetime clinical histories from multiple encounters and sources. It is patient-centred, permanently storing data from all facilities. This solution provides comprehensive, current, and lifelong clinical information to care providers whenever and wherever it is needed. It collects this information from all points throughout the enterprise, hospitals, physician offices, and clinics, and displays it in integrated views at the point of care. To increase ease of use and accessibility to data, Siemens captures the power of the Internet to deliver the repository data via its Web browser-based user interface to the people who need it.

Today, over 220 Siemens customers use this Lifetime Clinical Record (LCR). At one customer site, the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, the clinicians perform over two million "look-ups" per year into LCR. At the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Joel Buchanan believes this technology has helped physicians and clinicians increase the quality of patient care. "In our clinics, use of Siemens' Web-based Lifetime Clinical Repository has greatly decreased the number of times we have to retrieve a patient's paper chart which can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours", explained Dr. Buchanan, medical director of information systems at the University of Wisconsin.

"When filling out a patient's insurance form or when a patient calls in with a new symptom, our staff and physicians can find everything they need, the patient's blood pressure, pulse, weight, the medicines they are on, in one easy, automated step. The LCR helps everyone to be more efficient, allowing the physicians to spend more time caring for their patients", added Dr. Buchanan. The University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics constitutes an integrated health network providing primary, secondary, and tertiary care. It operates a large inpatient facility in Madison, Wisconsin and a network of 80 clinics located in five buildings throughout the region.

In addition to its Web-based LCR solution, Siemens Medical offers its Health Enterprise Dashboard, the first browser-based portal which delivers doctors lifetime clinical records; medical images; e-mail and Internet access for the latest and most trusted medical reference materials; links to continuing medical education; decision support capabilities; on-line access to medical transcription facilities; and daily health, finance as well as general news. "Our patients benefit from the Health Enterprise Dashboard because our caregivers are armed with more information allowing them to make more informed decisions and function better as a team", commented Pamela Wirth, CIO of Susquehanna Health System, a multi-group hospital located in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Another IOM recommendation calls for all health care organisations, private and public purchasers, and professional groups to pursue six major aims: health care should be safe, effective, patient-centred, timely, efficient, and equitable. Last year, the IOM's report on medication errors, called To Err is Human, brought the issue of patient safety to the forefront of the industry's and the nation's consciousness. Siemens addresses patient safety initiatives throughout all their systems and offers effective solutions, including alerts and reminders during physician order entry, extensive algorithm matching during patient identification, and patient-centred activity planning to help providers deal with this issue.

Specifically, Siemens offers a Medication Management Solution which helps refine the medication process, leverage new technology, promote high quality and reduce costs. It supports the entire cycle of medication delivery, such as medication ordering, clinical checking, patient and drug identification at the time of administration, drug dispensing, on-line documentation, and supply chain management. The solution pays particular attention using information technology to help manage and document the "five rights" of medication administration: right patient, right drug, right dose, right route, and right time. Effective medication management solutions help prevent the most potentially serious of errors: giving a drug to the wrong patient.

Based in Pennsylvania, Siemens Medical Solutions Health Services Corp. offers a broad range of clinical, financial, and management applications and outsourcing and professional services to support health providers across the continuum of care. The Siemens group operates the health industry's largest Information Services Center and Health Information Network for application hosting, e-commerce, enterprise systems management and managed Internet and infrastructure services. As a major Application Service Provider (ASP) in health care, the company operates health applications for over 1000 health providers with connections to more than 400.000 customer workstations, and processes 92 million transactions each day.


Leslie Versweyveld

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