Key to the choice, according to Leslie Kelly Hall, chief information officer for the hospital, was the company's open architecture and advanced connectivity, as well as its ability to provide a fully integrated catherisation-echo solution. Saint Alphonsus' cath lab had gone digital a number of years ago with a state-of-the-art system which recently had become outmoded. "We wanted a system which would grow with us in the future as we expand network capabilities throughout the hospital. Thus, it absolutely made sense to upgrade the catherisation facility and add echo connectivity at the same time", explained Jean Basom, executive director of speciality services at Saint Alphonsus.
The comprehensive vendor selection process involved both information technology and clinical teams. Jean Basom, who headed the clinical group commented: "In addition to clinical excellence for both modalities, we also looked for highly functional user interfaces, seamless communications with referring physicians, and strong tele-cardiology, Windows and Web environments."
Speaking from the IT perspective, team leader Hall stated: "First and foremost, we wanted a truly open architecture. We needed to tie into the hospital network as well as accommodate tele-cardiology. We were using connections ranging from fibre and Web to wireless. Also important were DICOM, CCOW, and HL7 interfaces because we were using these in other areas of the hospital."
To ensure the right choice, Saint Alphonsus conducted an extensive search for vendors which consisted of all the relevant names, including equipment manufacturers as well as specialised vendors such as Medcon. "Unlike many suppliers, Medcon was able to actually demonstrate all the features we wanted so we could try them before committing", noted Jean Basom.
The installation offers instant network access to cardiac procedures stored on a RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disk) and 30 seconds access to long-term archiving based on state-of-the-art DVD-R jukebox. It provides an HL7 interface for a Witt Hemodynamics system as well as a Saint Alphonsus Transcription System (SATS), and ADT and CCOW interfaces to a Web-based electronic medical record on SAINTALS.com and to the radiology department PACS system.
"Medcon equally was unique in the industry because it runs both cath and echo under a single application with only one point of entry, while the offering full-featured interfaces for both modalities", added Leslie Hall. "In addition to the clinical benefits and convenience of working with a single multi-modality patient record, we also realised significant cost savings by using the same hardware including servers, storage devices, workstations and monitors, for both departments", she stated.
"With its open architecture, the Medcon TCS will grow with us as we move towards a virtual patient record in the future. The connectivity between modalities and among other information systems is virtually transparent. And that is a tremendous compliment", noted Mrs. Hall.
Commenting on the installation, Uzi Blumensohn, Medcon CEO, stated: "Saint Alphonsus provides a model of how a multi-modality interface and advanced connectivity can dramatically enhance both the quality and efficiency of patient cardiac care. We are pleased and proud to have been selected to partner with such a technologically forward institution after a comprehensive search across a full range of vendors. Saint Alfonsus' choice of Medcon testifies to their belief in our shared vision of medical information technology and management." You can find more news on Medcon in the VMW April 2001 article Medcon's TCS solution helps Ingalls Memorial Hospital switch to filmless cath and echo labs.