Enterasys' wireless RoamAbout enhances electronic patient ChartSource in Concentra clinics

Rochester 21 January 2002Concentra Health Services, a comprehensive occupational health care provider, has selected RoamAbout wireless technology, developed by Enterasys Networks Inc., a provider of enterprise networking solutions, to complete a new point-of-care application project designed to increase work flow efficiency and eliminate $3-5 million in third-party transcription costs. The wireless initiative incorporates RoamAbout mobile connectivity to deliver a customised software application called ChartSource, which enables physicians and physical therapists to electronically create patient care notes.

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RoamAbout wireless access enables physicians to roam throughout a clinic visiting patients and recording patient care information into the ChartSource software on a handheld tablet-shaped PC. Instead of turning away from the patient to enter information into a wired PC, Concentra physicians are able to maintain continuous contact with the patient and create a more personal atmosphere, resulting in a more positive experience overall for the patient.

"Concentra offers its clients a comprehensive approach to lowering costs and improving outcomes in the occupational health care arena. We have integrated that same philosophy in our technology planning to provide the most efficient, cost-effective operations throughout Concentra's clinics", said Jay Wilson, vice president of information services and technology for Concentra Health Services. "Utilising Enterasys' wireless technology, we can really optimise the advantages of ChartSource and deliver a flexible and secure infrastructure which supports our core focus of high-touch patient care, while also enabling more efficient clinic operations."

The customised software features a decision-tree application which follows a standard set of questions based on information the physician provides, ensuring consistency in patient reports and providing an easy-to-use application for physicians. In addition, the decision-tree feature is easily customised to the individual user's preferences and can be tailored to accommodate one's own patient care style. Once the information is entered into the ChartSource software, it is then sent directly to the patient's electronic file and is immediately available.

"On average, we have two physicians and eight examination rooms per clinic. Without a wireless solution, we would need to run data cabling and install a PC in each exam room", commented Wayne Nabors, director of technical infrastructures for Concentra Health Services. "With wireless connectivity, it is a win-win situation. We only need one device per physician and can provide connectivity with a single RoamAbout Access Point, while the physicians gain the flexibility of taking their handheld device with them wherever they go. Most importantly, our patients enjoy a much more efficient patient care experience."

Originally, patient care notes were dictated into a voice mail system and then transcribed to an electronic format via a third-party transcription service, which was a significant cost for Health Services. Once the files were transcribed, they were transferred back to Concentra, and stored in a database. The entire process took approximately 24 hours to complete. With uninterrupted mobile network access, Enterasys RoamAbout wireless technology delivers high-performance connectivity based on the 802.11b standard. In addition, security features such as authentication and encryption create a highly secure wireless infrastructure.

"We are dedicated to ensuring the security of our communication channels and are actively assessing and preparing for compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). RoamAbout's enhanced Access Control and 128-bit encryption ensures the integrity of our wireless infrastructure", stated Mr. Nabors.

Thus far, RoamAbout wireless connectivity has been implemented in approximately 190 of the 231 Concentra clinics, with several new clinics being added each week. Initially rolled out to physicians, physical therapists will also be trained on the point-of-care solution with the total number of users across all Concentra clinics currently reaching approximately 1000. "We are continuing to roll the solution out to the rest of our clinics and expand our users to include the physical therapists", concluded Mr. Wilson. "In the future, we also plan to increase the types of information ChartSource will support, specifically for non-injury related patient visits and administrative tasks."

Concentra Health Services is a division of Concentra Operating Corporation, the successor to and a wholly owned subsidiary of Concentra Inc. Concentra is the comprehensive outsource solution for containing health care and disability costs. As of September 30, 2001, Concentra's Health Services division operated 229 occupational health centres across 70 markets in 32 states.


Leslie Versweyveld

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