Berlin hospital generates kidney patient records through available Web technology

Heidelberg 19 September 1999In the Department of Nephrology at the Charité Campus Mitte in Berlin, Germany, an Internet-based electronic medical record has been implemented for patients who underwent a kidney transplantation. Dr. Lutz Fritsche presented the system to the MedNet'99 audience in the clinical information track, which was chaired by Dr. Vincenzo Della Mea. It looks as if the haemodialysis service in Berlin has been provided with a solution that is simple, fast, up-to-date, comprehensive, reliable, accessible, affordable, and safe.

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Dr. Fritsche estimates the annual costs for one kidney patient at about $44.000. The costs for a transplantation amount to $50.000 for one person. The conventional treatment a kidney patient usually is submitted to, starts with dialysis, possibly followed by surgery. After the intervention, the patient moves to the intensive care unit. If sufficiently recovered, he then is referred to the nephrology ward or eventually to other transplant clinics. The treatment plan calls for a highly accurate information exchange between the co-operating dialysis centres.

The system at the Charité Campus Mitte is equipped with Software Query Language (SQL) databases, allowing to store the information from all available data sources. The clinicians can access the requested patient data through a common Web browser via the hospital intranet. Users outside the hospital are able to enter the system passing through a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) programme or a firewall via the Internet. The physician is not allowed to consult other patient records than his very own. The patient names are implemented as hyperlinks, which connect to the clinical data.

If the doctor adds or changes data in the record, the page will be generated a second time. The system also provides the automatic creation of discharge and follow-up letters. At this moment, there are already 714 full records of transplant recipients available. Over 1.200.000 laboratory values have been entered. It takes the computer only half a second to present all lab results for one patient on a given day. The composition of a discharge or follow-up letter takes about 2,4 seconds. Physicians as well as patients benefit from the user-friendly implementation of this Web-based electronic medical record system.


Leslie Versweyveld

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