By Lynnette Luna
A CUSTOMIZED SOFTWARE SOLUTION CURED INFORMATION ACCESS PROBLEMS FOR PHYSICIANS.
UCLA Medical Center, established in 1955, provides comprehensive services, including outpatient specialty surgical services and a Level 1 trauma center. The Division of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is charged with the care of critically ill patients, whose injuries require immediate attention.
For physicians, however, quickly obtaining critical patient information was a challenge. They had to log onto multiple computers and then review paper files, and the data were never timely enough, as physicians treat patients throughout the UCLA medical campus and in satellite facilities.
Through an internal I.T. group within UCLA, neurosurgeons began to identify the critical data they needed to effectively treat patients. They wanted information such as patient vital signs, lab results, medication administration lists and images such as CT scans. They needed the ability to display the information on a single computer screen for each patient as they underwent surgery, awaited care in the hospital's emergency room or were treated in the ICU. By 2005, the effort was commercialized as a separate I.T. company called Global Care Quest. GCQ’s software suite, called Integrated Clinical Information System (ICIS), was formally launched in 2006.
Mobilizing the technology was key. Once the data were centralized through ICIS and available via PC or laptop, the next step was to deploy the data through mobile devices to keep physicians upto- date whether they were on campus, across town or out of state.
SOLUTION: Global Care Quest ICIS Mobile; AT&T EDGE network; various devices UCLA physicians use handheld devices to access up-to-date patient information.
ICIS Mobile was commercially launched in October 2006, after having been piloted over the previous five years. Some 15 physicians in the neurology department use the solution, while another 10 use ICIS Mobile in the stroke program. The decision to use ICIS or ICIS Mobile as part of their regular practice was left to the individual physican, but awareness of ICIS has spread largely by physician word-of-mouth.
While ICIS Mobile is used in a variety of specialties and clinical environments within the medical center, it is having a significant impact on emergency stroke management. David Liebeskind, M.D., associate neurology director of the UCLA Stroke Center, says the ability to instantly access key clinical data - and images - from anywhere, is absolutely critical to successful stroke management.
"Time-to-treatment is critical in this area, probably more so than in any other area, including heart attack," says Dr. Liebeskind. "And it's not just time itself that's important, but getting as much information as possible in a short time is crucial to stroke treatment. Often, you get very little information, such as, 'weakness on the right side.'"
Dr. Liebeskind notes that he helped triage emergency cases while on a ski lift in Taos, N.M., hundreds of miles away from UCLA Medical Center.
ICIS Mobile uses AT&T's EDGE network for high-speed data transmission and can be accessed by a number of PDAs and cell phones, including the Palm Treo 750, Sprint 6700 EVDO and Verizon 6700 EVDO.