First all-digital Indiana Heart Hospital takes off in December 2002

Indianapolis 24 January 2002Patients with heart disease will now have access to the most advanced speciality hospital ever built when the United States' first all-digital heart hospital opens in December 2002. The Indiana Heart Hospital, a $60 million, 210.000-square-foot facility, will be built from the ground up to deliver a new level of care for cardiovascular disease by eliminating paper and film-based medical records. The hospital will function with complete, up-to-date, fully electronic patient records that clinicians can view instantly, from inside or outside the hospital. The hospital will also feature the latest heart care monitoring, diagnostic, and imaging technologies.

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This "hospital of the future" design eliminates medical record storage rooms, paper charting areas, and central nursing stations. It focuses on providing information which helps doctors and nurses deliver higher quality care at the patient bedside.

"We will be providing our patients with the most advanced speciality care hospital available today to combat heart disease", stated David Veillette, CEO of the Indiana Heart Hospital. "We are so totally committed to a paperless, filmless and wireless environment that we won't even have nursing stations. Instead, all our caregivers can input and retrieve patient information right at the bedside, which helps them deliver safer, more accurate patient care."

The Indiana Heart Hospital is a joint venture involving the Indianapolis-based Community Health Network and nationally respected cardiologists and cardiovascular surgeons. It will have 88 patient beds, 32 outpatient rooms, four surgery suites, six cardiac catheterisation labs, and a cardiac emergency department.

The all-digital work flow was designed through a partnership between hospital staff and GE Medical Systems. It features the GE Centricity Information System, an enterprise clinical information system which integrates patient information including images, waveforms and medical history, from every care area of the hospital into a single electronic record which can span a patient's entire lifetime. With specialised modules for the emergency room, intensive care unit, the operating rooms, recovery rooms, general care floors, and physician order entry systems, Centricity manages the patient encounter end-to-end.

Centricity helps caregivers provide safer, more immediate care and spend more time with patients with cardiovascular disease, which the American Heart Association says is the leading cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 61 million Americans every year.

"Now, at the stroke of a key, I will have the patient's history, I will have a list of his or her medications, I will know his or her allergies", stated Michael C. Venturini, M.D., cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer of the Indiana Heart Hospital. "I will be able to review not just reports but actual images of echocardiograms, of EKGs, of cardiac catheterisation films. It will make me and all my peers better physicians."

Greg Lucier, president and CEO of GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, added: "This project is really the representation of two important trends in health care. The first is specialised medicine. And the second is the revolution that has to take place in the use of information technology. We are excited to be able to provide the breakthrough devices, the communication networks and the integrated information systems to bring about the fundamental change in clinical work flow which will take place at the Indiana Heart Hospital."

The Indiana Heart Hospital selected GE Medical Systems as its clinical technology partner to provide the all-digital hospital with advanced diagnostics, medical imaging and clinical information systems, including wireless, handheld communication technologies and the GE Centricity Information System.

Current trends in health care make the all-digital concept crucial, according to Mr. Veillette. "We must recognise that the average nursing age is 45 or older and that fewer and fewer people are coming into the field", Mr. Veillette stated. "The aging of the baby boomers means we have to find more efficient ways to take care of three times as many patients, with staffing levels that will be decreasing. The only way to do that is with information technology."

Planners representing physicians, nurses, technicians and patients studied 18 functional areas looking for ways to improve effectiveness. All recognised the importance of handling information efficiently. "Service will be provided not only at the point of care but at the point of the care giver", stated Dr. Venturini. "All orders and activities pertinent to the care of the patient will be dispensed at the bedside. But likewise, at every computer screen in the hospital, I or any other caregiver will also be able to provide care. We can document, we can write orders, and we can review. That is critically important. By doing that, we will enhance quality and safety."

GE has partnered with the Community Health Network since 1996 to pioneer clinical information systems in various departments. Together, these elements now will be manifested into a fully operational, hospital-wide clinical information system at the Indiana Heart Hospital. As the Indiana Heart Hospital's technology partner, GE will provide GE Centricity integrated with a comprehensive offering of the most advanced cardiology equipment available today. It includes innovations like the all-digital cardiovascular imaging system, GE Innova 2000; gender-specific ECG to test women's heart waveforms, the GE GenderSmart 12SL; a 30-minute cardiac exam, using the advanced GE Signa MRI system; and a complete offering of cardiac devices.


Leslie Versweyveld

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