A Medical Device Daily

GE Healthcare (Little Chalfont, UK), a division of General Electric (Fairfield, Connecticut), reported this week that it has been selected by the U.S. government to serve as the primary pharmacy information technology system provider for Tricare Management Activity, the healthcare provider for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), which manages U.S. military healthcare and military retirees.

The company made the announcement at this year's annual conference and exhibition of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS; Chicago) ongoing this week in Dallas. GE Healthcare said the agreement with Tricare would proceed on a “project-by-project“ basis, “with the potential for a 10-year duration and more than $80 million in revenue,“ adding that the pharmacy IT solution “could potentially be rolled out globally for DoD use.“

GE Healthcare's Centricity Pharmacy Information System, being featured on the HIMSS exhibit floor at the Dallas Convention Center, electronically manages all pharmacy and drug-related information pertaining to an individual hospital patient or multitudes of patients across a large network of hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities.

The system also provides “the necessary information tools for pharmacy managers and pharmacists to efficiently distribute medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals and allows pharmacists to monitor the use of drugs across the organization, helping to prevent allergic reactions and medication interaction,“ GE Healthcare said.

Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Information Technologies, part of GE Healthcare, termed the Centricity system “the most comprehensive pharmacy product on the market and is an important part of our technology portfolio, which is leading the digital revolution of healthcare.“ He said it is particularly well-suited for large, multi-site healthcare organizations such as Tricare, which operates more than 800 facilities and 500 dispensing pharmacies that manage 93 million prescriptions per year.

Centricity includes software and various professional services such as consulting, training, project management and ongoing 24/7 software support. It also tracks drug interaction and flags potential adverse reactions.

“It has been documented that approximately 40% of all errors are made at the patient's bedside,“ said Wanchoo. “Recent studies have indicated that the implementation of a pharmacy information system can result in a reduction in medication errors by up to 50%.“

GE Healthcare also said yesterday it will roll out on Thursday at the HIMSS meeting “a collaboration that will enhance the patient care process in hospitals and clinics and accelerate the adoption of electronic health records among health systems in the U.S.“

In other news from the HIMSS meeting:

• Lionville Systems (Exton, Pennsylvania), a manufacturer of medication and anesthesia carts, pharmacy fixtures and medication cabinets, is featuring its iCart for Point of Care mobile computing. Lionville calls the iCart “the industry's only mobile nursing solution to combine the advanced characteristics of today's medication carts with the timesaving convenience and efficiency of mobile computing.“

Lionville Systems said it developed the iCart to satisfy nursing needs “for a customizable and secure mobile cart,“ hospital IT department requests “for platforms that support the latest computing technology“ and patient demands “for systems that better protect them from hospital errors.“

The iCart provides software addressing the “Five Rights of Medication Administration.“ Nurses can access the patient's medication administration record via computer and use a barcode scanning system to match the medication with the patient, ensuring “the right dosage, to the right patient, at the right time, via the right route.“ And nurses can use the system's online computing to access the hospitals' clinical information network.

The system features keyless entry, automatic relocking capabilities with user-defined timeouts, multiple access code capability and a motion sensor, all providing security in open hospital environments. It comes with a range of long-life power solutions, fast recharge times, visual and audible alerts for clinicians, and a variety of configuration choices. Authorized users can upload or download activity reports, operator codes and other data.

• Access e-forms (Sulphur Springs, Texas) is exhibiting its Access Evolution product, designed to provide a paperless IT information system for hospitals. Access Evolution updates data in real time from any hospital database, incorporating clinical and business workflow that can be attached to data elements as well as the forms themselves.

Access Evolution “tracks every change and addition to a patient's record, and gives clinicians the effect of using a patient chart,“ said Tim Elliott, president and CEO of Access e-forms. The system, which uses no printed forms, houses all patient information in a database rather than associating the information with a particular form, with a patient's in-process data constantly and automatically updated. Forms are generated and signed online and then written directly to imaging.

Access Evolution also creates two workflow improvements: ad hoc workflow, enabling authorized personnel to change and resubmit in-process requests; and point-to-point routing, enabling automatic routing of procurement and other requests throughout the hospital's procurement, payment and supply chains.

• InterSystems (Cambridge, Massachusetts), a healthcare application platform provider, unveiled its “virtual“ electronic health record (EHR) built on its Ensemble integration platform. Together with business/technology consulting firm Sapient (also Cambridge), InterSystems is demonstrating the solution, which integrates patient data from multiple applications and databases to offer a single, comprehensive view of a patient's health history.

“The Ensemble-based EHR demonstrates a solution that addresses what has become a spotlighted healthcare issue nationwide,“ said Trevor Matz, InterSystems managing director for the Ensemble platform. “The ability to offer healthcare providers with the most up-to-date information on patients in virtually any location is a major objective for healthcare organizations all over the country.“

The virtual EHR demonstration contains components from Medsphere (Aliso Viejo, California), which simulates a hospital environment with its VistA Hospital EHR; Misys (London), which represents a clinical laboratory; and Partners Healthcare (Boston), which fills the role of a physician's office.

Sapient assisted InterSystems in developing a web portal to support the virtual EHR.

InterSystems reports more than 4 million people using applications based on its software.