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Operating Room Information Systems

it also makes important information instantaneously accessible to other users in the OR environment. By broadcasting select pieces of information throughout the OR, staff can balance surgery workloads more effectively, turn rooms and optimize the use of OR time.

In order to best maximize OR usage, perioperative staff must juggle the day’s planned schedule against the inevitable changes as each surgical case develops. OR staff members need to understand how each case is progressing so that they can be prepared when an OR suite becomes available – whether early or late. “With paper records, it is impossible to understand the status of cases currently in the OR,” Johns says.

aggregate data from hundreds, if not thousands, of paper records, manual data capture will never be as reliable as electronic data capture. Clinician’s records are often filled with shorthand, much of which may be illegible or incomplete. A state-of-the-art AIMS with customized input devices can help clinicians create better documentation just as quickly as their shorthand, with none of the drawbacks. As such, the AIMS takes over many tedious aspects of documentation – from protocol reminders to tran- scribing physiological data. An AIMS visual reminder is a simple and reliable mechanism to help clinicians document care. The system is then automatically capturing and aggregating data, making it readily available for review and analysis to improve compliance initiatives.

The Merge OR Dashboard showing two hours of sample data for four in- progress cases. The current case appears on the right and past cases in the OR to the left (light blue boxes). Each current case’s status is color coded, and the surgeon (S), anesthesiologist (A), CRNA (C) and procedure (P) for the case are displayed. Real-time physiological data appears for each case as well, including the C02, blood-oxygen saturation, heart rate, blood pressure and anesthetic agent (clockwise from upper-left icon).

Alternatively, in the routine course of electronic charting, an anesthesiologist can capture procedure information, such as the start, close and end of the procedure, simultaneously. At Piedmont, documenta- tion reminders for these times are presented in the same way that antibiotics documentation is described above. Most AIMS also collect real-time physiological data from patient monitors, allowing for seamless pre- sentation of charted case information and physiologi- cal data. Taken together, case times and physiological data provide an excellent view of an individual case’s progress and status. “With a low-cost software add-on, Piedmont’s AIMS solution delivers data to large-panel plasma TVs mounted in strategic locations throughout the perioperative area. The entire staff uses this OR dash- board to understand how cases are progressing and determine if a specific OR will be available on time or is behind schedule,” says Johns. “This simple step has allowed us to recapture OR time, which can translate into thousands of saved dollars each day.”

Collecting the benefits

An AIMS is necessary for any CMO, CIO or CTO looking to revolutionize patient care in the OR. Even if it were financially possible to hire enough staff to

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OR managers and anesthesia care pro- viders can use data from the AIMS to better understand various aspects of their practice and to effectively collaborate on improvement initiatives. Piedmont’s sys- tem produces customized reports to track numerous compliance measures and review outcomes. One example is the tracking of compliance with sterile barrier techniques for the insertion of a central line catheter. “This report helps us identify providers who do not document correct techniques,” says

Johns. “We can then counsel providers who are not in compliance. The review can be done within one month of the occurrence, unlike a typical hospital quality- assurance program that may take four to six months for an event to be tracked and acted on.”

Looking forward

The past decade has seen incredible growth and ma- turity in AIMS, giving hospitals and surgery centers an opportunity to improve patient care and optimize the return on investment. As all of healthcare IT moves toward electronic records, AIMS will continue to see growth. Today, AIMS developers are moving ahead with next-generation offerings, including mobile solu- tions, integration with EHRs and connectivity with other systems, such as patient portals and kiosks. An AIMS can deliver immediate benefits and lay a foundation for new approaches in the future. “In the first year, a newly deployed AIMS can be ef- fectively used to capture an ROI that exceeds the costs of implementation,” Johns says. “After the first year, the AIMS should help drive improvements in perioperative processes that allow for additional ROI. Ultimately, the AIMS will serve a critical role in all hospitals’ efforts to ensure high-quality, cost-effective care.”


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