08. 30. 2004
MData: PDAs for Hospitals
While we seem to hear about new advances in medicine every day (heard about the jaw grown in a back muscle?), the stories that tend to stick with us are the ones about medical errors like the one that caused a man in Florida to lose the wrong leg in an amputation. While horrifying accidents like that one are rare, medical errors occur regularly, often due to simple human error. In an era where almost everything is computerized, most hospitals still rely heavily on paper records. Now at last some hospitals are making the move into the digital age. MData,Nc by MercuryMD is a PDA-based system for the healthcare profession that centralizes patient data and makes the sharing of updated clinical information by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other hospital staff a lot easier. The Virginia Hospital Center, in Arlington, Virginia, already on the forefront of digital record keeping, is one of the very first hospitals to implement the MData sytem. I asked Steven Zimmett, MD (VHC Pulmonary Critical Care and Internal Medicine) a few questions about the rollout.
MK: How has MData affected the daily routine of patient care? Is it time-saving?
Dr. Zimmett: MercuryMD provides a snapshot of our patients,Aeo information in a very mobile format. Yes, MercuryMD is a time-saver. I am able to answer my patients,Aeo questions with the information at my fingertips on my PDA, e.g., lab work, medications, etc. without having to return to the nursing station computer terminals. It is really the mobility of having information at the patient,Aeos bedside that saves time.,Aeu
MK: Is the technology easy to use? Was the transition from paper charts to MData a difficult one?
Dr. Zimmett: Virginia Hospital Center has been on the forefront of electronic data management for many years and MercuryMD just takes us to a new level.Yes, the MercuryMD system is very easy to use.
MK: How is the data transmitted from doctor to pharmacist to technician, etc... Is it wireless?
Dr. Zimmett: To clarify, we are not transmitting original information but rather MercuryMD gives us mobility with our current information system. Yes, we have wireless capability, as well as IR (infrared) sync stations for physicians whose PDAs/handhelds do not have a wireless capability.
MK: Would you recommend implementation nationwide, any precautions?
Dr. Zimmett: MData is a great way to have your patient,Aeos vital information at your fingertips while you are on-the-go; it typically saves 3-5 min/patient during rounding. That frequently adds up to 1-2hrs/day for our clinicians. That,Aeos time that could be spent in the office, and any time a Physician can see more patients or spend more time with the patients they have benefits everyone. Plus, MercuryMD is very responsive to end user requests and is always looking for more ways to utilize handheld technology to save clinicians,Aeo time.
Since MData reflects the level of security a hospital employs, the only caveat to implementing this nationwide is for hospitals to make sure their network is as secure and HIPPA compliant as possible. This is true whether they use MData or not.
MK: How have patients reacted to MData?
Dr. Zimmett: Patients have reacted positively to physicians spending more time at their bedside and the fact that physicians can give patients answers right away makes them happy.
Thank you, Dr. Zimmer and Jamie Meredith.