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Cardiology systems

Cerner integrates ECGs with electronic health records

CHICAGO – At the recent Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) conference, Cerner Corp., of Kansas City, Mo., showed an innovation in the area of electrocardiogram (ECG) systems. The company claims to be the first in the world to integrate ECG data into the electronic health record using the DICOM imaging standard.

They’ve done this by partnering with Mortara Instrument Inc. of Milwaukee, a non-invasive cardiology company, to create a DICOM-compatible version of the E-Scribe ECG system for Cerner’s Millennium electronic medical record platform.

There are many benefits to this – it means that hospitals don’t have to maintain a separate archiving infrastructure for their ECG systems. Instead, ECG images and results can be consolidated in the main electronic medical record.

As well, it means that cardiologists can quickly obtain the patient information they need from other parts of the electronic record – such as allergies, medications, labs and previous cardiology tests. Other physicians can quickly obtain the ECG records without having to transfer to a different system.

What’s more, information can be collected wirelessly from ECG carts – seconds after it is collected, it can be beamed from the cart directly into the patient’s electronic record.

Interestingly, orders and worklists can be sent wirelessly from the information system to the cart, allowing exams to start faster. “What used to take half-an-hour is now done in minutes,” commented Cerner’s Bill Waters, VP of Cardiology and Imaging.

So far, Cerner has sold 30 of the DICOM-compatible ECG applications, of which 10 are up and running. The company said there is strong interest from Canadian customers.

Cerner also demonstrated its MD Bus, as system that enables information from all types of medical devices to be integrated into the electronic chart. Data from pumps, monitors and even beds – such as the new generation of smart beds that measure the patient’s weight – can all be linked into the record. “We’re creating a plug-and-play bus,” said Scott Porter, VP of TechWorks at Cerner. “You plug in your device, and it will collect the information. It’s then collated in a single record.”

Finally, Cerner showed how it is integrating all types of visual information into its PACS, enabling it to be viewed on a single workstation. In addition to the standard radiological modalities, these images include endoscopy, pathology, GI lab, OR, orthopedics and ophthalmology. According to Cerner, the PACS can accommodate all of the different workflows of these differing areas of the hospital.