Holy Name Medical Center Offers its Physicians Mobile Technology Unique to Bergen County Hospitals
Instant access to patient record, immediate contact with care team
Teaneck, NJ—Holy Name Medical Center has created an original computer application for its doctors that allows them instant access to their patients' entire electronic health record, as well as direct phone links to a patient's nurse and emergency contact person via iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other mobile devices. To the knowledge of Holy Name's Information Technology team, such technology is not available to doctors on staff at any other Bergen County hospital.
According to Michael Skvarenina, Assistant Vice President, Information Technology, Holy Name Medical Center, the technology, named "MicroHIS," is a component of Holy Name's internal computer system, WebHIS—also the brainchild of HNMC's own IT team. MicroHIS, available free to Holy Name's medical staff, gives physicians the information they need to make patient care decisions without delay, while affording them the convenience of reviewing their patients' charts and speaking to the patient or key members of the care team from a location other than their home, office or the Medical Center.
Efficient communication = timely and informed decision-making
Using MicroHIS, a Holy Name physician can view lab and radiology reports, vital signs, and other aspects of the medical record as soon as they are posted to the Medical Center's computer system. The doctor clicks on the MicroHIS icon on his/her mobile device and logs onto the secure network that ensures patient privacy. A list of the physician's patients appears, along with their essential medical information. New information (i.e., not viewed by the physician prior to the current log-on) is highlighted. Abnormal test results are flagged. The patient's nurse and family contact person can be called via a direct link to their telephone numbers. (Holy Name nurses carry an internal cell device which allows them to be reached without going through the nurses' station.) By touching the bedside phone number next to the patient's name, the doctor is instantly connected to the patient's room. Physicians can also search for a patient by hospital unit; when that patient's location is found, the doctor adds the patient to his own list with a touch.
Better than pre-packaged software
Holy Name Medical Center has been writing its own software for clinical applications for many years, according to Mr. Skvarenina. The reason, he says, is that while similar technology is available through outside manufacturers, there are dramatic differences in personalization and service. "The real advantage in designing our own software is that we can react in a heartbeat to feedback from our staff," he explains. "We are in total control of our application and its functionality."
If a member of the medical staff comes to Holy Name's IT team with a request to change the functionality of an application, "we can sometimes do it in 10 minutes, maybe an hour," says Mr. Skvarenina, who cites the example of a Holy Name Emergency Department doctor who was frustrated with having to plod through a series of drop-down menus to access his progress notes. Mr. Skvarenina reviewed the problem with the doctor, gathered his suggestions and, in about an hour, made the necessary modifications. "When you work with a vendor, you have to go through the bureaucracy. It could take weeks or months or longer and after all that time, they may decide they're not interested in making a modification."
Within days of going online with MicroHIS, the Medical Center's IT staff received unsolicited emails from HNMC physicians. Actual comments included "Amazing," "I'm totally blown away," "Too cool for words" and "Communication facilitated to the max."
Mr. Skvarenina recently shared the application with a pediatrician not on staff at Holy Name. "I didn't tell her what it was or where it came from," he says. "I just logged into the demo version and showed her the screen. Instantly, she knew how to use it, without my having to explain it. It's that intuitive. She said, 'I'd do anything to have this.'"