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Operating Room Information Systems


Making real-time data available to all


An anesthesia information-management system delivers tangible value in a large hospital surgery environment.


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esearch published in October 2008 in the journal Anesthesia and Analgesia stated that 44 percent of 140 U.S. academic departments had implemented or were planning to acquire an anesthesia information-man- agement system (AIMS). Industry data suggests that outside of academic environments, however, 90 percent or more of anesthesia care providers still use paper-based documentation.


areas. In most settings, the benefits of electronic records over paper are well established: • Records are complete and legible, leading to fewer mistakes in care delivery or billing;


• Automated data capture, for example of physi- ological data, relieves providers of costly and error-prone transcription; and


R. Allen Johns, M.D., a staff anesthesiologist at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, with the Merge Healthcare AIMS system that displays case-progression information on an OR dashboard in strategic locations throughout the perioperative area.


The fact that so few perioperative encounters are documented electronically is surprising. An industry- wide movement toward electronic health records (EHRs) is well underway, if not complete in some


24 January 2011


• Data collected in an electronic record is immedi- ately accessible for review and reporting. Despite this, many hospitals continue to have isolated anesthesia records. “Essentially, these records remain a paper island in a sea of digital information,” says R. Allen Johns, M.D., a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and a staff anesthesiologist at Pied- mont Hospital in Atlanta. Many of today’s hospital infor- mation-management systems can be interfaced with an AIMS to effectively share vital patient in- formation and case data. Through HL7 and XML interfaces, mature AIMS solutions are being bridged with the modern hospital to provide complete fluency of information between systems. Yet, in most hos- pitals today, the flow of complete, accurate and up-to-date patient information is not reaching the OR, nor is the OR bridged to systems beyond its walls.


Many hospitals and anesthesia groups are concerned that an EMR simply isn’t suited to the OR and,


as such, will neither improve patient care nor reduce costs. Johns disagrees: “In fact, an electronic medical record (EMR) is uniquely suited to the demands of the OR.”


HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com


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