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Two Canadian groups win MS-HUG awards

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two Canadian organizations were among the six winners of the 11th annual MS-HUG Healthcare Innovation Awards. For more than a decade, the honors have been awarded to healthcare organizations, software vendors and system integrators that have demonstrated significant advancements, innovation and success using Microsoft technology in the healthcare industry, ultimately helping to improve health around the world.

Winners and finalists were recognized at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2008 Annual Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 25 in the Microsoft booth. The following are the 2008 winners for the MS-HUG Healthcare Innovation Awards 2008:

Winner for Best Use of Interoperability
• Vancouver Coastal Health for the CareConnect Electronic Health Record

Winner for Best Use of Delivery Transformation
• Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre with Neoteric Technology Ltd. for the LacTrack SafeLx solution. (Pictured above: Sunnybrook NICU nurse Kelly Forcey demonstrating the new system.)

Winner for Best Use of Clinical Records – Inpatient
• Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Anesthesiology with Acuitec

Winner for Best Use of Clinical Records – Ambulatory
• Primrose OB-GYN with digiChart Inc. for OB-GYN solutions

Winner for Best Use of Disease Surveillance
• St. Joseph Family Medicine Residency – Medical College of Wisconsin with NextGen Healthcare Information Systems Inc. for the NextGen EMR

Winner for Best Use of Outcomes Reporting
• Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, Data Modeling & Analysis Office with IMS Government Solutions for the Surgeon General’s Medical Analysis Platform (SG MAP)

“These award winners truly represent the best of the best in their innovative approaches toward solving problems plaguing the industry,” said Chris Sullivan, industry solutions director, Microsoft U.S. Health and Life Sciences Group. “We’re honored at Microsoft to participate in recognizing these worthy winners, many of whom are saving lives every day and, in the process, transforming the industry through the use of technology.”

With more than 4,700 members and 29 corporate supporters, MS-HUG is the leading health industry forum for exchanging ideas, promoting learning and sharing technology solutions using Microsoft technologies. Each year, MS-HUG and Microsoft collaborate to produce the MS-HUG awards, which recognize healthcare organizations and individuals who exhibit the best use of Microsoft-based products, as well as independent software vendors and systems integrators that develop solutions on Microsoft technology for the healthcare industry.

Award contestants were judged by a prestigious panel of industry experts and luminaries and were evaluated on the extent to which they provide significant business benefits to healthcare organizations and improve patient care.

More about the Canadian winners:

• Vancouver Coastal Health’s CareConnect is a patient-centric Electronic Health Record (EHR) that is accessible via the hospital network or a secure internet connection. It provides caregivers at VCH with shared, integrated electronic access to clinical information from sources across the region, and from external sources such as private labs and PharmaNet.

“The nature of health care has changed dramatically in recent years, resulting in more multi-disciplinary team-based care, more care delivered in the community, and a regional model of care, rather than a hospital-based one,” says Colin King, Program Director for eHealth projects, VCH. “This creates many transition points – where patients move from one program or care delivery service to another. CareConnect’s function is to bring comprehensive patient information to staff at the hospital, family doctor’s office, or care facility.”

CareConnect is innovative because of its unique approach to assembling a patient’s longitudinal health record from components within VHC, from third party service providers (Excelleris) and the Ministry of Health (Enterprise Master Patient Index).

• And in Toronto, by ensuring that the right baby gets the right breast milk, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has become a world leader in neonatal patient safety and the prevention of medical errors.

The implementation of a sophisticated milk management system in Sunnybrook’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is a world first, involving the management of virtually every aspect of milk administration.

The potential risk of viral and bacterial transmission through breast milk requires a strict standard for breast milk handling. Errors can occur at any point in the handling process, which includes collection, storage, preparation and administration.

The LacTrack SafeLx system, developed jointly by Neoteric Technology Ltd. and staff in the hospital’s NICU, tracks milk collection, storage, preparation and eventually the feeding of premature infants using wireless mobile computers and printers. This new methodology was first used for blood transfusions at Sunnybrook, and has been adapted to meet the needs of the NICU.

“Human milk is the gold standard in infant feeding,” said Dorothy Dougherty, a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant in the NICU. “Breast milk is also considered a body substance product, so it is key that we ensure expressed milk gets to the right baby. Staff find the handheld wireless scanners easy to use and also appreciate that making an error is now almost impossible.”

The process begins when a baby is admitted to the NICU. A barcode label is generated not only for each baby but also for anyone who has a role in ordering a feeding, milk preparation or feeding the infant. Each mother who will be expressing breast milk is given labels with her baby’s barcode, which she then affixes to the milk she has pumped. When the physician or dietitian orders a specific feed for a baby, the NICU feed-preparation technicians scan the order and prepare customized labels for feeds.

The last scanning occurs in the neonatal unit at the time that an infant is fed.

“If there is an error at any point, a critical alarm sounds. It is loud enough for both the nurse and those around her to hear, so the chances of an unnoticed error happening are slim,” explained Dougherty. “The number of feeds on an annual basis is quite astounding. Each baby has about 10 feeds a day and, with 30 babies in the unit, this equals approximately 110,000 feeds per year in the NICU.”

The new system represents a departure from older methods, like the “double-check” or “two-nurse check” of each feed prior to feeding the infant. This repetitive visual double-check was found not to be a reliable method in preventing breast milk errors.

“This initiative reflects Sunnybrook’s commitment to patient safety. We are ethically and morally obliged to ensure that we are constantly striving to become the safest hospital in Canada, especially in the NICU, where we have such a vulnerable patient population,” says Dr. Michael Dunn, Chief of the Department of Newborn and Developmental Paediatrics at Sunnybrook. “We believe that this methodology can and should go beyond breast milk and transfusions to include lab samples and medication administration.”

Over 160 staff in Sunnybrook’s NICU have been trained and are now using the milk management system. This includes all nurses, neonatologists, dietitians and feed preparation technicians. There has been 100 percent compliance among staff.

Data collection is an important feature of the new system. “Every aspect of the milk collection, storage and administration process is verified electronically and recorded in a central management system for auditing purposes,” added Dougherty. Now we can track specific items, such as how many times a nurse has fed a certain baby to the total number of feeds given during a baby’s stay in the NICU.”

The MS HUG awards recognize healthcare organizations and individuals who exhibit the best use of Microsoft-based products, as well as independent software vendors that develop solutions on Microsoft technology for the healthcare industry. Award contestants are evaluated on how they provide significant business benefits to healthcare organizations and improve patient care.

“The need to aggregate clinical information from a wide variety of sources into a single record is a critical issue facing the healthcare industry today,” said Chris Sullivan, U.S. health industry solutions director, Microsoft Corp. “Vancouver Coastal Health’s CareConnect EHR is an innovative approach that helps solve this challenge, and it’s an invaluable tool for care providers.”

VCH is responsible for the delivery of $2.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care services to over one million people in communities from Richmond through Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.

About MS-HUG
Microsoft Healthcare Users Group is a membership community within the HIMSS Users Group Alliance Program, providing technology leadership and knowledge for improving healthcare delivery and efficiency. The alliance provides HIMSS with targeted industry expertise to help broaden its professional and industry contributions, and provides MS-HUG members with the opportunity to reach new markets with educational and professional development programs. MS-HUG is the leading healthcare industry forum for exchanging ideas, promoting learning and sharing solutions for information systems using Microsoft technologies. MS-HUG works to provide industry leadership, drive appropriate standards and develop associated requirements in support of healthcare solutions. The diverse membership of MS-HUG is united by a shared interest in implementing vendor- and user-developed software based on Microsoft technology to improve quality and efficiency in healthcare. More information can be found on MS-HUG’s Web site at

About Microsoft in Health and Life Sciences
Microsoft provides standards-based products and technology to help the healthcare and life sciences industries break down information barriers between the disparate IT environments across pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies, physicians and healthcare professionals, provider organizations, government and private-sector employers, health insurers, and consumers. Microsoft’s vision for knowledge-driven health utilizes the company’s market-leading technology to help people in the healthcare provider, payer and life sciences organizations integrate their systems, dramatically enhance collaboration, and increase information sharing and learning – ultimately resulting in the ability to deliver high-quality products and services to patients and consumers worldwide. More information about Microsoft in the Health Industry can be found at