Orbix merges dispersed patient information into a single electronic record

Cambridge 06 July 1998 The Baptist Health System of South Florida (BHSSF) provides medical services to approximately two million patients and members. This multifacility health care enterprise is working together with 3M Health Information Systems (HIS) to install the Master Member Index, a unified patient identification directory, to tie together the demographic and clinical records of every patient, residing at one of the BHSSF medical sites. In turn, the 3M HIS Division, based in Salt Lake City, has selected IONA Technologies to supply the specialized software infrastructure Orbix, in order to integrate all the heterogeneous database systems into this one Master Member Index.

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The Baptist Health System of South Florida (BHSSF) provides medical services to approximately two million patients and members. This multifacility health care enterprise is working together with 3M Health Information Systems (HIS) to install the Master Member Index, a unified patient identification directory, to tie together the demographic and clinical records of every patient, residing at one of the BHSSF medical sites. In turn, the 3M HIS Division, based in Salt Lake City, has selected IONA Technologies to supply the specialized software infrastructure Orbix, in order to integrate all the heterogeneous database systems into this one Master Member Index.

In collaboration with 3M HIS, BHSSF has been working now for several months at its Computerized Patient Record (CPR) system. As the umbrella organization for four immediate care hospitals, namely Baptist Hospital of Miami, South Miami Hospital, Homestead Hospital and Mariner's Hospital, as well as for Baptist Children's Hospital, the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute and, in addition, a series of other diagnostic centres, home health agencies, physician practices and outpatient centres, BHSSF has grown to be the largest health care provider in Southern Florida. In order to manage all these sites in a proper way, it has been decided to assign a permanent and unique numeric identifier to each patient whose records are stored on the databases in the various health care facilities.

The overall idea is to offer caretakers and administrators general access at all times and from any care site to the integrated and updated patient's file they need. In this way, physicians don't have to waste their precious time searching for the right information and can pay more attention to the patient instead. The Master Member Index forms the core of the CPR system but it needs full interoperability to be effective. The Orbix software, provided by the Cambridge based IONA Technologies Company, will allow the complete integration of the disparate systems. The powerful programme is based on the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) standards for the exchange and distribution of the patient information.

The Patient Identification Service (PIDS) interfaces from 3M HIS will enable the BHSSF system to communicate with the Master Member Index. As a matter of fact, PIDS was the first standard, which has passed by the CORBAmed health industry group. After all duplications and errors have been removed from the demographic data, the identifiers are assigned to the patients. Every patient number has to be matched to the according data in the various facility transcription systems that might contain records of past health encounters. The Orbix architecture ultimately offers efficient and immediate access to all the data of one patient, arising from a combination of different databases. And this will be accomplished for two million patients.


Leslie Versweyveld

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