To stay at the cutting edge of healthcare IT, Spectrum Laboratory Network is preparing to give client physicians and hospitals access to laboratory test data via several types of wireless connections.
To accomplish this, Spectrum announced in January that it would deploy MercuryMD across its affiliated network of hospitals in North Carolina and Tennessee. MercuryMD is a product developed by Thomson Healthcare to provide hospitals and physicians with mobility solutions that improve workflow, reduce errors, and enhance patient care. By accessing laboratory results on a smartphone or PDA, doctors can carry the results from one patient exam room to another and make real-time decisions using all available data.
Dark Daily spoke with David Moore, CIO of Spectrum Laboratory Network, about why they chose to implement MercuryMD.
Dark Daily: Did physicians ask for this wireless access?
Moore: What they were asking for was the ability to see their outreach lab results at the same time they were seeing their inpatient lab results. We had been working with our hospital clients to devise a solution using our Internet portal to feed their Thomson Healthcare – MercuryMD database. Then, one of their physicians asked, “Why couldn’t we just put it directly on the same PDA that the hospital was displaying the inpatient information?” We all had one of those “Eureka!” moments, which led us to contact MercuryMD about becoming another viewer on the PDA.
Dark Daily: How does it give the lab competitive advantage to have this value-added feature?
Moore: Physicians are becoming more attuned to dealing with their information digitally. By extending their ability to review results without being tethered to their office or to an Internet connection, we feel that they will come to expect this capability. The rate of wireless device use among physicians is accelerating sharply. This is happening especially in the area of multi-function devices like smart phones that replace many other devices like pagers, cell phones, and laptops. This product positions Spectrum in the right place to take advantage of this shift in communication technology.
Dark Daily: What is the profile of the doctor who “gets it” quickly and begins to use this service to access lab data wirelessly?
Moore: Our most active users are physicians who are actively performing rounds at the hospital. They are accessing more patients more often than are doctors who are not admitting a large number of patients.
Dark Daily: What kind of front-end cost and monthly cost is needed to support this type of IT capability by the lab?
Moore: The lab will need to invest in an Oracle server license and dedicated server to get started. MercuryMD prices their application software based on a number of factors. The lab will need to contact them for an estimate. The next investment centers around the time required to perform initial installation and setting up of the data feed to the MercuryMD server from the lab’s LIS. Loading the results data into the Oracle database is handled by MercuryMD, but the lab will have to provide a mechanism to export the information from its LIS to the MercuryMD server so it can properly loaded.
While these activities are underway, the support team needs to be formed. It will require team members with networking, telecommunications, and customer service expertise. Training the customer service staff and the field staff is a recurring exercise. Training materials for both should be assembled and reviewed for new conditions experienced in the deployment.
Dark Daily notes that laboratories across the US that want to stay cutting-edge will find it beneficial to invest in patient data delivery technology similar to MercuryMD. The added benefit that a laboratory that can deliver results with such a system can provide to doctors and hospitals will undoubtedly lead to it being a preferred laboratory for processing tests.
Spectrum Laboratory Network Selects Thomson Healthcare for Anytime, Anywhere Delivery of Patient and Laboratory Data
PS: David Moore, CIO of Spectrum Laboratory Network, will be speaking about Spectrum’s IT strategies at the Executive War College on Laboratory and Pathology Management, in Miami on May 9-10-11, 2007. He will speak on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, during the optional, one-day program titled “Using New Lab IT Gateways As Links into Physicians’ EMRs.”
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