Archive for device integration

The Wheels on the Bus Go ‘Round

We were driving from St. Louis to Chicago on a Sunday afternoon for an appointment Monday morning.  When we were about an hour and a half outside of Chicago, our tire blew.  We were close to an exit, so I pulled off the highway and into a truck stop to assess the situation.  We have these run flat tires that allow you to go 50 miles at 50 mph.  We had more than 50 miles to go to our destination and I didn’t feel comfortable driving 50 mph on an interstate where people were going 80+ mph, so I assessed the situation. 

We needed a new tire.  Can we get a new tire somewhere close? Nope.  Many of the tire stores in the area were closed since it was late Sunday afternoon.  The big tire stores (Walmart and Sears) didn’t carry the tire we needed and would have to order it.  We had to be towed to the dealer in Chicago, so I called roadside assist.

I had two passengers with me, so I knew that riding in a standard tow truck was not going to work.  I requested a tow with 3 passenger ride along. I was given a 2 hour ETA.  I got a call from the contracted towing company about 40 minutes later.  I confirmed that there was room for 3 passengers.  Unfortunately, this was not communicated to the towing contractor, so the truck that was in the area did not have the room for 3 passengers.  This prompted another call to roadside assist and a new towing company dispatched a truck for us.  

This is not the end of this story, but it is enough for this post.  I relay this story because sometimes things get lost in translation.  It’s like when you played telephone as a kid.  You tell someone something, they tell someone else and so on.  By the end, what is being said may not be the same as what you told the first person.  

How does this apply to healthcare technology?  Many practices have seen the value  of in-house lab and imaging equipment for their business.  They can offer these services internally instead of referring the patients out to other businesses.  The issue is that not all lab and imaging devices can speak the same language as the practice’s EMR.  Sometimes the devices only communicate via serial or network via ASTM,  ABX, or Argos.  Sometimes the EMR will only accept HL7.  Mi7 has developed the expertise to take the device languages and translate the data to HL7 or, in some EMR’s, write the data directly to the EMR.   With the government incentives and mandates to store discrete data (test results as individual values), practices have been printing out these results and manually entering them.  This can reduce employee productivity and introduce potential errors to the result transcription process.  

I have seen practices take the data from these machines and create proactive marketing (called “health maintenance” programs in the patient arena) campaigns to promote patient maintenance of A1C, Cholesterol, and other key chronic maintenance values.  This helps the practices pay for the device and improve overall patient health.

There are many types of devices that collect and report on data.  If you are paying for the device, why not use the data provided by the device to improve patient care and potentially grow your business? Use the devices you have.  Maximize the value of data collected by these devices. It’s your data. Use it.

Mi7 Solutions Featured in the St. Louis Business Journal’s Tech Flash

St Louis Tech Startup, EMR Interfaces, IntegrationThe St. Louis Business Journal’s Brian Feldt recently interviewed Mi7 Solutions’ founder Brad Cassity about his recent departure from Curas and the launch of Mi7. The article discussed the increased need for lab device
integration, data extraction and migration, and system interfaces for Electronic Health Records systems being used in hospital and medical practice environments. Cassity stated in the article:

“We’ve seen a big need from clients at Curas who were looking at other softwares or mobile solutions and wanting to use another system … [practices are also] looking to move systems and finding other EMR systems that can’t do what they originally thought….Their needs are growing more sophisticated, so they are going to other applications.”

The article can be read in its entirety on the St. Louis Business Journal website.

Mi7 Case Study – Arthritis Consultants, Inc.

The Client

CaseStudy_img_webEstablished in 1974, Arthritis Consultants, Inc. is a Rheumatology practice with three locations in the St. Louis area. The firm is the oldest Rheumatology practice in operation in St. Louis.

The Situation

As medical practices continue to mature in their use of Electronic Health Records, many are looking for more functionality and integration between systems. In addition, Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires that specific integrations be in place for the sharing of information. One such integration is lab device integration with the electronic health record. Practices are turning to technology partners to help them design and implement these interfaces.

The Client’s Need

Arthritis Consultants operates with two lab devices, Beckman Coulter and ACE Alera, and uses eClinicalWorks as their EHR. The practice had implemented a rudimentary device interface between their devices and eClinicalWorks. Unfortunately, their interface software was unreliable. It was also inflexible and lacked a reconciliation utility for managing and resending results that could not be matched to patients in their eClinicalWorks system. The interface computer recently crashed and they were faced with having to not only replace the unit, but also rebuild the interface which could not be recovered.

How Mi7 Solutions Helped

Mi7 Solutions worked closely with Arthritis Consultants to design the new lab device interface that would operate similar to what they had before, but that was more stable and a lower cost to maintain. Through the implementation and testing process, Mi7 identified additional modifications they could make that would better fit Arthritis Consultants’ workflow. The interface also includes a user interface for assisting the practice in reconciling results when there is a data entry problem on the device side.

As a safeguard, Mi7 also implemented off-site backup of the configuration and interface so that if there ever was a problem with the computer again, they could easily restore the interface.

Results

Mi7 was able to install the new interface in just a couple weeks time, and has helped Arthritis Consultants gain greater efficiency in their workflow while providing a better, more functional environment for the lab device interface. In fact, the new system functions so well that, to date, Arthritis Consultants has made only one support call to Mi7, who quickly discovered an issue not with the interface, but with the lab device itself which required a simple restart.

 

“The Mi7 staff is very professional and knowledgeable, working one-on-one with us to build our new system with the features we wanted. Our experience with Mi7 was fabulous. It’s nice to work with a company that aims for customer satisfaction.”

Tracy Hickles, Office Manager