Tools help hospitals convert to electronic medical records

November 26, 2003

New products seek to minimize effort and costConverting to an integrated digital record-keeping system is becoming easier. Two companies have developed conversion tools that minimize the time, expense, and effort needed to

New products seek to minimize effort and cost

Converting to an integrated digital record-keeping system is becoming easier. Two companies have developed conversion tools that minimize the time, expense, and effort needed to implement an electronic medical record.

MedAbiliti has introduced MDMR (MedAbiliti distributed medical record), which helps hospitals make the best use of existing systems rather than dispensing with them, as some vendors had advised in the past. Users can keep what they have if it works for them and just add new components as necessary.

MDMR collects existing medical data from the healthcare information system and converts the information into XML (extensible markup language) documents, which are backward-compatible with current standards. This eliminates the need to dispose of current methods for reading data.

MDMR also provides tools and a user interface to integrate and apply security and privacy policies to the data, down to individual data fields. The result is a repository of XML data on an MDMR server. Authorized users such as caregivers, payers, and patients can easily retrieve patient information residing in multiple data storage sites on a virtual central data mode. The front-end systems familiar to users remain the same, while changes are made on the back end to allow interoperability.

Iron Mountain's Image-On-Demand services provide an alternative solution. The product uses offsite technology as needed to collect and store healthcare data electronically, avoiding the expense of converting entire paper medical record back files.

If, for example, the system receives a request for an archived medical record, it scans and indexes the paper record. With Image-On-Demand, patient medical records can be converted to an EMR in a time- and cost-efficient manner, streamlining the records management process.

Iron Mountain's data centers are designed to minimize the potential for data loss due to external as well as internal factors. The centers are located away from earthquake faults, flood-prone areas, airport flight paths, and high-crime areas, and within three miles of police and fire stations. They are situated at least two miles from fuel storage tanks, chemical plants, and rail lines, in single-story, windowless, steel-reinforced, earthquake-resistant concrete vaults with entrances protected by class-5 steel vault doors.

By outsourcing to Iron Mountain, customers pay only for the services they require. Outsourcing also opens up space that healthcare providers would otherwise have to lease or purchase for storage.