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Article Review: Standards in Health Care


The article I would like to talk about is written by Laura Bristow, titled “Sunnybrook tests new patient-safety alert system” and is available online at http://www.canhealth.com/current%20issue.html, Canadian Health Magazine. The article speaks about the Sunnybrook & Women’s hospital in Ontario which would install the new software system/program called New Age which would provide safety within the hospital by establishing a system of instant alerts to doctors and medical personnel in case of abnormal lab results.

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This new software would display the patient record data, comprising lab results, radiology reports, admission and discharge information, and patient specific transcription, all done in an integrated fashion. New Age software is web based, implying that all clinical data of Sunnybrook & Women’s hospital can be accessed from any internet browser within the hospital network as well as with handheld computers. This program is unique in the way that it allows the physicians to monitor the patient’s condition in a real-time mode and to create instant alerts that are typically sent wirelessly to the physician’s hand-held gadget such as PDA, pager or a cell phone/smart-phone. Such alerts will notify the physician of a problem in case of lab abnormality or other serious conditions.

The doctors of the Sunnybrook hospital believe that New Age software will establish a standard for other hospitals to follow not only in Canada or North America but also around the globe to reduce the fatality rates due to lack of timely communication. Prior to the New Age software implementation within the hospital there was a propensity for mistakes as the information about test results prior to reaching physicians would go through three other people. The new software will send the alert directly to the physician at the time the problem is detected. Subsequent messages commenting on the status of the patient or the problem will be delivered directly to the physician as they appear in hospital. The new software is believed to make Sunnybrook hospital among the safest in the world as it will improve efficiency within this healthcare facility by monitoring the patient’s condition.

New Age software is a decision support tool that can be customized to meet the needs of any hospital in the country by detecting ADEs and preventing some of them with timely alarms to hospital staff. To better understand why New Age will set a standard and revolutionize the healthcare industry one should see how it works.

New Age captures data from pharmacy orders, lab results and other HL7 messages and converts it into XML prior to parsing it into a database. One can apply certain rules using MS-BizTalk while alerts are sent to clinicians in a real-life mode.

The article illustrates how some prescriptions for patients aged 65+ will be automatically monitored and advised on by the system to assure that the patients do not take the drug not intended for senior patients due to harmful side effects. The system besides contributing to more efficient and risk-less operations within Sunnybrook hospital provides a checking system on the activity of doctors and nurses to test their ability to make right decisions regarding prescription and dosage and ultimately eliminate incompetent personnel from the hospital.

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