Integrated health care network optimises patient care at Maimonides Medical Centre

Blue Bell 27 May 1998 Hospitals all over the world are focused on two burning issues in this decade of health care reorganization: improvement of patient treatment outcomes and overall cost reduction. Since 1995, the Maimonides Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is working together with Unisys on an integrated health care delivery solution, referred to as the Maimonides Access Clinical System or MACS. This clinical support services system has been nominated as one of six finalists in the Medicine category of the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards, which every year honour the most remarkable information technology initiatives for the general improvement of society.

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Hospitals all over the world are focused on two burning issues in this decade of health care reorganization: improvement of patient treatment outcomes and overall cost reduction. Since 1995, the Maimonides Medical Centre in Brooklyn, New York, is working together with Unisys on an integrated health care delivery solution, referred to as the Maimonides Access Clinical System or MACS. This clinical support services system has been nominated as one of six finalists in the Medicine category of the 1998 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards, which every year honour the most remarkable information technology initiatives for the general improvement of society.

The Maimonides Medical Centre is the third largest independent teaching institution as well as the first hospital in the United States to have performed a human heart transplantation. This 705-bed facility has been specialising as an ambulatory care centre with over seventy outpatient primary care and subspecialty programmes. It is renowned for its cardiac services, hematology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, pediatrics, psychiatry, urology, and vascular surgery. It has selected the information technology solutions provider, Unisys, as a partner to design a technology plan and implement a scalable network for 24 hours operation a day. As a next step, the collaboration resulted in permanent management and monitoring support by Unisys for the installed local and wide area networks.

At present, MACS depends on a performing computer network offering sub-second response time to a wide range of ongoing applications, seven days a week. The hospital staff has constant access to all the required information at whatever location in the medical centre, as well as at home, the office, or the satellite facilities. Nurses carry wireless devices and test equipment on carts to the patient's bedside to administer medication or to consult patient records, medical images, or graphic-enhanced data. Unisys has installed a help-desk to assist physicians and nurses around-the-clock in case a computer problem occurs. At the same time, it takes care of the network's daily up-keep while providing a secure Web site for report review by the hospital staff. In this way, Maimonides is able to save a substantial amount of costs.

Thanks to the efficiency of the distributed computing support services, more patients have found their way to Maimonides Medical Centre, thus increasing the hospital's revenue. However, they can rely on excellent and dedicated treatment since MACS has reduced the duplication of medical tests with 20% and allows the health care providers to consider the food preferences of their patients and to avoid re-registration procedures. The average follow-up of routine medications has improved by 188 minutes, so it only takes 88 minutes before they arrive in patient areas. The average length of stay has decreased by nearly one full day per patient. The integrated MACS solution obviously has helped to achieve the twofold objective of higher patient satisfaction and important cost reduction. For more information on the hospital services, please consult the Maimonides Medical Centre Web site.


Leslie Versweyveld

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