Magazine article Drug Topics

Virginia Hospital Implementing New Information System

Magazine article Drug Topics

Virginia Hospital Implementing New Information System

Article excerpt

Dana Anderson, RPh, director of pharmacy at 334-bed Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Va., finds himself in an enviable position. His facility is implementing a $14 million hospital information system that will allow him to totally redesign his pharmacy. It's a transformation, Anderson said. "We are redesigning everything around a bar-code initiative."

The hospital, which opened a $150 million facility four years ago, is launching a medical information system named Soarian, manufactured by Siemens Medical Solutions. Due to begin operation next year, it includes clinical, financial, physician order management, scheduling, internet portal and health information management applications - as well as individual electronic patient medical records. A significant safety component is a best-practices checks and balances database founded on information provided by Zynx Health and customized by hospital physicians.

Soarian's pharmacy component will automate, track, and provide quality assurance at each step of the ordering, dispensing, and administration process. "The principle behind the entire design is the enhancement of patient safety," Anderson said. "Everything we've done, every decision that has been made about what to do and how to accomplish it, has been to implement technology that will eliminate medical errors."

"This is a huge project," said Sharon Martin, the hospital's project manager for transformation. "Too often when new technology is implemented, caregivers spend much of their time caring for the technology, imputing data from one component to the next. This is a fullyintegrated project that will make the way we work more efficient and significantly enhance patient safety."

Martin points to Soarian's critical results notification function as an example of the safety advantage inherent in a fully-integrated system. Appropriate medical staff, including pharmacy, can be notified and mobilized by e-mail, pager, and cell phone in the event of a patient emergency, and referring physicians can be contacted immediately if results of a diagnostic screening require a response. Radio frequency armbands track where patients are in the hospital and which services they are receiving at any given time. And digital archiving allows physicians to access medical records and imaging studies from anywhere inside the hospital or from home. …

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