LifeLine, a Dutch company specialized in datacommunication and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) in the health care sector, has signed its first contract abroad to implement a central patient index in the Hospices Cantonaux in Lausanne, Switzerland. The EMerge software will be installed in the university hospital, the children's medical centre, a few smaller clinics and a psychiatric unit. The Swiss canton hosts about one million citizens who will each receive a unique patient identification.
The total cost of the initiative amounts to 250.000 euro. If the EMerge programme turns out to be successful, other cantons will probably follow the same approach. The project is funded by the Swiss government which is represented by a high official taking part in the project team. The LifeLine people will need some five weeks in order to activate the software in the different hospitals. At present, the canton clinics use a wide variety of diverging patient registrations.
Since a year, LifeLine has become the provider of EMerge, a software product from the United States which addresses the annoying problem of duplicated patient files in the hospital directories. The programme is extremely useful in cases of fusion or regional collaboration between medical centres. EMerge is able to analyse the patient records and to calculate whether duplication has occurred, using a high degree of probability. To this purpose, phonetic traits are being compared to identify the records.
EMerge provides the patient with a unique identification while establishing a relationship with existing codes used by the various hospital departments or sub-administrations. Therefore, a referral system is introduced. As a result, there is absolutely no need to massively switch the hospital organization to a unique patient identification procedure overnight. Institutions are allowed to maintain formerly applied patient codes if they wish to. Only the names and addresses are being standardized.
LifeLine already developed an EMerge version for the Dutch market. For the Swiss region, subcontractor Bowne, who also was responsible for the Dutch programme, will design a French package. The Swiss linguistic landscape is rather complicated indeed, since this country also uses Italian, German and Swiss as official languages. Next to providing EMerge and Cloverleaf which both are licensing products, LifeLine is equally involved in supplying system integration and Internet services.
The company is one of the first health-care-focused providers of Information and Communication Technology in The Netherlands to sign a cross-border agreement, with the exception of Applicare and Cardiocontrol. The number of LifeLine staff people has been tripled to twenty in only one year and a half. VMW refers to the Automatisering Gids as the news source for this article.