Raymond D. Aller, MD
At 10 AM the transfusion management system at Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg, Miss., crashed. By 3 PM the hospital was operating a new system from a different vendor. And most of the hospital’s medical staff weren’t even aware that a potential crisis had been averted.
The system failure never jeopardized patient care, says Vivian Plummer, supervisor for Forrest General’s blood bank, but the several hours during which the system was down were somewhat frantic. “People were a little harried in the blood bank, but people coming in to pick up blood didn’t realize what was happening,” she adds.
The hospital system, which has 537 beds, including a 429-bed acute care facility, has a back-up procedure that calls for reverting to a manual system in such situations. “And it went smoothly enough that no one in our hospital [outside the lab] and a lot of people in our lab did not know what had happened,” Plummer says. “We never had any kind of delay with patient care.”
Forrest General’s transfusion management system crashed four weeks before the hospital was scheduled to go live with a new system from Wyndgate Technologies, which it had purchased a year earlier after learning that its current system was being sunsetted, or discontinued.
After the system crashed that morning and the hospital’s information systems staff was unable to bring it back up, management contacted the hospital’s current vendor for help. The hospital had not had a system support contract with the company for the previous six months, Plummer explains, because management could not come to an agreement with the company on a fee. Neither would the vendor give support on a one-time fee basis for the emergency situation, she adds.
“We would have had to pay around $23,000 to $24,000 for our four-week fix,” says Plummer, referring to the time period after which the system would no longer be used. “It was going to be a full year contract, plus a penalty, and we just decided we weren’t going there.” The only option left, Plummer continues, was to call Wyndgate and ask, “Could we go live now?”
Wyndgate agreed and immediately assigned a handful of staffers from its technical and professional services department to the job. Working off-site at its El Dorado Hills, Calif., headquarters, Wyndgate staff had a SafeTrace Tx system up and running by about 3 PM, according to Plummer. “I was thrilled that they got us up that fast,” she says. “I mean we just swung right into action.”
Plummer says the implementation plan had called for a project manager to be on site on the go-live day. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. “Which really did not bother us,” says Plummer, adding that, “I felt like we had our procedure in place.”
The hospital had been working for six months on building a database, along with validation tests, training materials, and written procedures, in anticipation of receiving its SafeTrace Tx system, Plummer says. The staff, she continues, was almost fully trained on the system.
Plummer says her main concern was getting access to records and transferring that data to the new system. Fortunately, she adds, a couple of days after the failure, the hospital’s information systems department was able to remove the data from the old system.
While Plummer was pleased overall with how the manual back-up system worked, she says the crash alerted blood bank staff to a gap in the hospital’s procedure for saving computer files.
“We backed up everyday to tapes and once a month would do a full backup,” she says. “We didn’t realize we were actually overwriting some of the backups we needed. So, we didn’t quite understand the process well enough. I think we do now. We also have more assistance from our IS department in implementing this [system].”
Eclipsys Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the business of Sysware Healthcare Systems, including its related software development organization in India. The transaction was slated to close at CAP TODAY press time.
The acquisition builds on a 2004 business agreement between Eclipsys and Sysware that allowed Eclipsys to remarket Sysware’s laboratory information system as Sunrise Laboratory.
“By coming together, we can offer our laboratory solution not only on a stand-alone basis but also with the Eclipsys Sunrise solutions as an integral part of a larger enterprise health care information system,” says Mayank Trivedi, founder and CEO of Sysware.
All Sysware employees are expected to become employees of Eclipsys, increasing the company’s staff by approximately 130 employees between North America and Baroda, India. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Thomson Corp. recently acquired MercuryMD, making the provider of mobile health care information systems a part of Micromedex, a Thomson Scientific and Healthcare business.
Together, the companies will leverage their content, technology, and expertise to integrate evidence-based clinical knowledge into such tools as laptops and PDAs.
Antek HealthWare has released the LabDaq laboratory information system version 3.5.
Version 3.5 provides tools to help labs better manage standing orders and difficult test calculations. The improved standing orders functionality allows labs to create orders for nearly any pattern of occurrence.
Other new features include expanded test calculations that pull age, race, and gender from the patient record and the ability to graph patient test results for up to six tests on one report. Users can also quickly access the company’s technical support department or Antek’s Web site from a shortcut on the LabDaq welcome screen.
Elsevier’s Path Consult is an online differential diagnosis tool to provide clinical decision support covering every subspecialty area of general pathology. Pathologists can use the product to conduct a side-by-side comparison of up to three diagnoses at once.
Path Consult includes more than 10,000 images for more than 500 conditions. The system is slated to offer more than 20,000 images for 1,200 diagnoses by this fall.
BioMérieux is now offering ENQ, its advanced multi-protocol laboratory interface management system to easily resolve compatibility problems between BioMérieux diagnostic instruments and laboratory information systems.
ENQ features smart auto-protocol generation, which simplifies the process of adding new instruments to the lab. The system quickly translates protocols to resolve communication problems between HL7, ASTM, CDF, BIF, and other formats.
The ENQ interfacing system also offers such smart features as data collection and processing, reporting to support hospital compliance and analysis, traceability of data and snapshot views of transmissions, and wireless capabilities.
ENQ is preconfigured to the lab’s requirements. It has a very small footprint and is powered by HealthBlocks. ENQ is a registered trademark of HealthBlocks and is used exclusively by BioMérieux.
Global Works Systems has released its Global Works One Look calendaring solution.
One Look integrates the data between the physician practice management system and Microsoft Outlook, allowing providers to access all of their scheduling information on one screen from their home or office PC, laptop, or PDA.
Avera Health, Sioux Falls, SD, has contracted to convert its facilities in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska from disparate versions of Meditech’s client/server and Magic releases to a standard electronic medical record system running on Meditech’s most recent client/server release. The EMR will unite 28 acute care hospitals, nine long-term care facilities, and 80 physician offices.
In a separate announcement, Meditech unveiled its first Australian sale. Ramsay Health Care, which operates 69 health care facilities, has licensed an integrated patient administration system from Medical Information Technology Australia Pty Ltd., an affiliate company of Meditech headquartered in Sydney.
Community Blood Center of the Carolinas, Charlotte, NC, has purchased MasterControl’s quality management suite. The blood center supplies blood and blood products to 14 hospitals serving 11 North Carolina counties and three South Carolina counties.
Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services, Dayton, Ohio, has implemented Information Data Management’s new Prelude donor room management system. Community Blood Center is the sole provider of blood components to 25 hospitals in the Miami, Ohio, and Whitewater, Ind., valleys.
Wyndgate Technologies, a division of Global Med Technologies, has signed an agreement to install its SafeTrace donor management system at Adventist Lab Partners Blood Center, which serves hospitals in the Chicago area affiliated with Adventist Midwest Health System.
Dr. Aller is director of bioterrorism preparedness and response for Los Angeles County Public Health Acute Communicable Diseases. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hal Weiner is president of Weiner Consulting Services, LLC, Florence, Ore. He can be reached at email@example.com.