US community hospital develops its own unique app
Accessing patient files on smartphones physicians can view laboratory and radiology reports, vital signs and all relevant patient data
A community hospital has created an original computer application to enable its doctors to access electronic
patient records (EPRs) instantly via their own smartphones. The app, devised by the IT team at the Holy Name Medical Centre in Teaneck, New Jersey, US A, also offers direct phone links to a patient’s nurse and emergency contact person via iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other mobile devices.
Dubbed MicroHIS , the technology is a component of Holy Name’s internal computer system, WebHIS, and is available free to Holy Name’s medical staff. The app gives physicians necessary information to make patient care decisions without delay, while affording them the convenience of reviewing their patients’ charts and speaking to the patient or key members of the care team from a location other than their home, office or the Medical Centre. The physician can view laboratory and radiology reports, vital signs, and other aspects of the medical record as soon as they are posted to the 361- bed Medical Centre’s computer system simply by clicking on the MicroHIS icon on their mobile device and logging onto the secure network that ensures patient privacy. This calls up a list of their patients with their essential medical information. The device also flags up abnormal test results. By touching the bedside phone number next to the patient’s name, the doctor is instantly connected to the patient’s room. Physicians can also search for a patient by hospital unit; when that patient’s location is found, the doctor adds the patient to his own list with a touch.
Mike Skvarenina, the hospital’s Assistant Vice President for Information Technology, pointed out that the Holy
Name Medical Centre has been writing its own software for clinical applications for many years, chiefly because although similar technology is available through outside manufacturers, there are differences in personalisation and service. ‘The real advantage in designing our own software is that we can react in a heartbeat to feedback from our staff. We are in total control of our application and its functionality. ‘We are always open to suggestions as to how we can further develop MicroHIS and are waiting for more input from the doctors,’ he added. ‘There’s a feedback button on the app through which they can make suggestions to us.’
The flexibility of the MicroHIS means that IT staff can modify the system and the functionality of an application in as little as 10 minutes to an hour, he pointed out. ‘When you work with a vendor, you have to go through the bureaucracy. It could take weeks, months, or longer and after all that time, they may decide they’re not interested in making a modification.’ MicroHIS has been upgraded recently to receive out-patient reporting and the physicians have also asked IT staff to add the operating room schedules. The MicroHIS app has received a very positive response from physicians and, Mike Skvarenina added: ‘We know they must like it…because they are using it.’
The benefits are for patients, he explained, by doctors being able to access their data quicker, and also for
the hospital through more effective and efficient use of staff time. However, at this stage there are, he confirmed, no plans to market MicroHIS commercially.