HIMSS Analytics gauges device data charting and EMR integration

By Mike Miliard
11:06 AM

A new white paper from HIMSS Analytics, sponsored by Lantronix, surveyed 825 healthcare organizations to explore the progress of interfacing medical devices with the EMR.
Recording and charting changes in vital signs has been identified as one of the core areas that will be measured for meaningful use incentives.

The white paper details progress on these efforts, and finds that just one-third of the hospitals surveyed indicated they had an active interface between medical devices at their organization and their electronic medical record (EMR).

Those hospital respondents with such an interface in place, meanwhile, indicated the ability to automatically chart data from the device directly to the EMR as the primary reason.

The research, conducted from June 2009 to June 2010, explored the number of types of devices in place at an organization, not the overall number of devices present. The survey included data from 825 U.S hospitals responding to questions about medical devices in general and how/if these devices are integrated into the EMR environment.
“The transfer of data directly from a medical device to the EMR can reduce potential medical errors and improve patient care because no manual transfer of data takes place,” said John H. Daniels, vice president, healthcare organizational services, for HIMSS. “Such data integration also improves workflow by saving time for clinical staff, a valuable benefit when looking at nursing shortages in healthcare.”  
The devices included in the survey are:

  • cardiac output monitors
  • defibrillators
  • fetal monitors
  • electrocardiographs
  • infant incubators
  • infusion pumps
  • intelligent medical device hubs
  • interactive infusion pumps
  • physiologic monitors
  • ventilators
  • vital signs monitors

Other findings from the study include:

  • Most hospitals relied on the Wired LAN connection as the sole method of connectivity between EMRs and medical devices.
  • Only 8 percent of respondents reported that their hospital relies solely on wireless connections.
  • None of the hospitals in the sample report use all 11 medical devices tracked by the research.
  • Thirteen percent use 10 of the devices and another third use nine of the devices. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) use eight of the 11 devices. Less than 10 percent of the hospitals in this sample have deployed five or fewer of these devices.
  • Defibrillators are the most widely deployed device type with 99 percent of the hospitals reporting them in use.
  • More than 90 percent of hospitals use physiologic monitors (97 percent), electrocardiographs (97 percent) and vital signs monitors (94 percent).
  • Least frequently deployed are intelligent medical device hubs; only 11 percent of the hospitals in this sample reported using this type of device.

While saturation exists in electrocardiographs, defibrillators, physiologic monitors, ventilators and vital signs monitors, with at least 90 percent of the market using this technology, market growth opportunities exist for:

  • interactive infusion pumps,
  • fetal monitors,
  • infant incubators, and
  • the limited number of hospitals now interfacing their devices and EMRs.

With requirements for meaningful use Stages 2 and 3 released over the next three to five years, more hospitals are expected to develop interfaces between their EMRs and medical devices since medical device interoperability is one of the meaningful use Stage 3 goals outlined to achieve and improve performance and support patient care processes.  
“The benefits of utilizing intelligent medical devices to provide safer care are clear,” said Anthony Shimkin, vice president of marketing at Lantronix. “Lantronix is committed to meeting the device connectivity needs of hospitals while supporting their drive toward achieving meaningful use goals.”
Read the white paper, Medical Devices Landscape: Current and Future Adoption, Integration with EMRs, and Connectivity, on the HIMSS Analytics website.

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