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It pays to integrate anesthesia

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  By Mary Carr, R.N.,  April 30, 2012

One hospital's integration of more than 200 devices (including anesthesia machines) with its medical record system resulted in increased accuracy in patient data, decreased charting time and more time for patient care.

With 370 beds and almost 1,000 physicians, Wisconsin-based ProHealth Care treats nearly 400,000 patients each year at its hospitals and clinics. Prior to 2011, the nurses in the ProHealth Care system — like so many of their peers in hospitals across the country — were spending significant amounts of time documenting and transcribing patient data.

ProHealth Care recognized that every minute a clinician spent documenting data was one in which the clinician was not delivering direct care. This was of particular concern in acute-care environments such as operating rooms, where anesthesiologists need to focus on the condition of their patients — not on the legibility of hand transcription.

This changed in 2011, when ProHealth Care implemented Epic, an electronic medical record system. At the same time, ProHealth Care opted to implement the Epic Anesthesia Information Management System to offset documentation workloads for its anesthesiologists. One hurdle, though, was that Epic's anesthesia module requires medical device integration.

The right integration vendor
For ProHealth Care, medical device integration immediately moved from desired to required. The question was which medical device integration vendor to use to bring its anesthesia machines online.

ProHealth Care System Administrator and Business Analyst Sua Wolter headed the search for a device connectivity provider. Of paramount importance to Wolter was a vendor that could, without fail, bring ProHealth Care's specific anesthesia module online.

Ultimately, ProHealth Care chose iSirona's software-based integration solution. The iSirona solution can integrate data from any medical device directly into Epic. "We knew we wanted something that was flexible, and we wanted a solution that could eventually expand across our organization," says Wolter. "iSirona fit the bill on all counts."

Proof in results
The iSirona implementation at ProHealth Care exceeded expectations. According to Wolter, the initial plan, which was to bring anesthesia machines in the operating room online by Oct. 1, 2011, was easily met. "We could tell iSirona wanted us to be successful in our go-live — and the best way for them to do that was to be present," Wolter explains. "They were there every step of the way, training staff and answering any and all questions we had."

           ProHealth Care's Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

Implementations at ProHealth Care's Waukesha and Oconomowoc Memorial Hospitals resulted in 227 devices connecting directly to the patient's EMR. The devices included GE monitors across all critical care units and emergency departments, Drager anesthesia machines, bispectral index monitoring devices, patient monitors in the OR and fetal monitors in the labor and delivery unit. That means that caregivers across the organization — including anesthesiologists — can now focus more of their attention on patient care instead of data transcription.

Anesthesiologist Eddie Mathews, M.D., is particularly impressed with the integration. "It was a very smooth transition," says Mathews. "Data is getting from the anesthesia machine to the medical record, and I'm confident it's accurate."

Much of the ease in implementing the iSirona solution occurs because the iSirona software functions behind the Epic interface; clinicians don't have to learn a new system. Additionally, the iSirona software runs on the hospital's existing hardware — eliminating expensive, single-use, proprietary hardware purchases.

"This has been, hands down, the easiest go-live I've ever experienced," says ProHealth Care Senior Systems Analyst Cheryl Christenson. "The implementation of iSirona is seamless for clinicians. They don't even realize it's in the background because they're still using a system they're used to."

In fact, other departments within the ProHealth Care system are now requesting that the iSirona solution be implemented in their departments. Mary Powers, a nurse on the ProHealth Care Epic implementation team, says, "Nurses are definitely saving time on documentation. They are able to see vital signs appear on the flowsheet without any typing, allowing more focus on the patient."

ProHealth Care's relationship with iSirona continues. "It feels like an ongoing partnership, and not just a vendor/client relationship," says Wolter. "If I were advising another hospital, I would strongly suggest they look into iSirona."

About the author

Mary Carr, R.N., is chief nursing officer at iSirona. Learn more at www.isirona.com.

 


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