Washington Post Profiles Health Care IT Presented at HIMSS Conference
Washington Post reporter Craig Stoltz yesterday profiled some of the devices that health care information technology vendors were selling at the annual Health Information Management Systems Society conference in Atlanta two weeks ago. Many of the vendors hope that their products will allow them to capitalize on health care providers' concerns about HIPAA regulations and medical errors. Stoltz says that the "most impressive" handheld computer application at the conference was e-prescribing software from MDanywhere. The Baltimore, Md.-based firm's system allows physicians to choose from a list of drugs approved by patients' insurers and check for drug and food interactions. Stoltz said he also was impressed by a bar-code system from California start-up Bridge Medical. By attaching bar codes to medications and to strips worn by patients and nurses, the technology allows hospital pharmacies to create an electronic log of "who got what when." The system can also track use of blood products.
While these applications have the potential to reduce medical errors, Stoltz says that the most successful devices will offer providers a financial return as well. Stoltz selects the Pyxis Patient Station as the "shrewdest combination of commerce and quality health care" on display. The Patient Station, made by a division of Cardinal Healthcare, is a mobile computer that provides entertainment such as e-mail, video games, Web access and television. But when clinicians arrive at the bedside, they can also use the unit to check the patient's medical records, order tests or verify insurance eligibility. Hospitals can charge patients for use of the device or charge a daily premium for certain entertainment services. "What's unique is that this provides a new revenue model for patient care information systems," Scott Bostick, vice president for sales at Pyxis, said, adding, "This system allows hospitals to derive revenue, benefit from the bedside technology and enhance the patient experience" (Stoltz, Washington Post, 2/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.