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Monday, July 18, 2016 12:00 PM

Connectivity Series: Nihon Kohden

Written by Laurie Blount, Director of Medical Device Integration, Iatric Systems

Connectivity Series: Nihon Kohden

So far in our Connectivity Series, we’ve shared details about how to integrate GE medical devices, Philips equipment, and Welch Allyn monitors with your EHR. This month, I’ll cover Nihon Kohden. And I’ll also spend some time discussing how important it is to keep flexibility in mind, so you can address a variety of interoperability scenarios.

HL7 Platinum Gateway

Our experience with Nihon Kohden is quite straightforward. Nihon Kohden requires their HL7 Platinum Gateway product be in place to enable their equipment to communicate ADT and medical device data to and from their devices. Once the gateway is in place, any EHR-agnostic medical device connectivity solution — such as Accelero Connect® from Iatric Systems — should be able to send ADT data from your EHR to Nihon Kohden, consume device data from the Nihon Kohden equipment, and then send those results to your EHR.

I say “should be able” because there’s a saying in the healthcare industry: “When you’ve seen one HL7 interface, you’ve seen one HL7 interface.” An HL7 interface doesn’t mean that medical device connectivity with your EHR will be plug-n-play. It’s critical to keep flexibility and the following questions in mind when you’re planning to integrate even straight-forward equipment like Nihon Kohden with your EHR.

Where Will Nurses Verify Results and Add Details?

Nurses need to review and verify monitor results before accepting them as part of the patient record. And sometimes details (e.g., whether the patient was standing, sitting, or laying down) need to be added to the discrete data that passes from the equipment. Where will your nurses accomplish this? Some hospitals may be able to validate and add details within their EHR, but some EHRs don’t yet have verification and editing capability. How will you ensure your nurses can accomplish this crucial step?

Accelero Connect is flexible enough to accommodate both scenarios. It has a user interface that clinicians can employ to review and verify results. Or, we can simply send data to the EHR for validation via the EHR’s routine. At Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas for example, Accelero Connect was used to pass Nihon Kohden data directly to the hospital’s MEDITECH EHR, where clinicians verify results and can add details without ever leaving their MEDITECH screen.    

Do You Have Equipment from Other Manufacturers?

You may use Nihon Kohden monitors in your ICU, but what do your clinicians use in your low-acuity areas? Portable Welch Allyn monitors? Or perhaps Philips VS3s or VS4s? More often than not, we see hospitals with a mixture of equipment from multiple manufacturers, which normally means buying multiple point-to-point interfaces.

For example, that was the scenario at Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. But we helped them overcome that challenge. They use Accelero Connect to collect results from Nihon Kohden monitors in their ICU, as well as results from portable Welch Allyn monitors used in other areas, all through a single interface to their MEDITECH EHR.

Additionally, some hospitals have different EHRs for different departments. For example, some hospitals use MEDHOST in their Emergency Department, but a different EHR for their inpatients. And many hospitals need to replace their EHR at some point. Since Accelero Connect is EHR-agnostic, it can support all of those various scenarios.

Do You Have the Expertise to Bring the Right Data to the Right Place in the Right Format?

I mentioned earlier: “When you’ve seen one HL7 interface, you’ve seen one HL7 interface.” There are a lot of variables to consider when you’re integrating medical devices with your EHR. Here are just two of the many examples:

  • Field mapping. How hard can that be, right? Well, what if you have multiple devices — one collects heart rate, SPO2, and blood pressure, but another collects only heart rate and SPO2, and yet another collects heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature. What will your mapping look like? How will you test all of those devices individually? Does your EHR have fields to accommodate the values from each device (i.e., heart rate x 3 fields)? Is that the best way to set up your EHR? Our team answers these and other field mapping-related questions on a daily basis, in the way that makes the best sense for each of our customers.
  • Figuring out where the problem lies. Here’s a dose of reality… There’s often a huge lag time between when hospitals purchase medical devices and when that equipment is actually integrated with the hospital’s EHR. By the time you want to integrate, typically your device manufacturer’s implementation support team is long gone. So if a problem arises (and in medical device integration, one always does — especially if wireless devices are involved), how will you pinpoint where the problem lies? Our team will help you overcome every challenge.      

Hospitals that purchase Accelero Connect get expert medical device integration service, so results from medical devices flow into your EHR where clinicians need and expect to see them. We draw upon two decades of EHR integration experience to deliver medical device connectivity on time and on budget.

If you’d like to learn more about the issues and options involved in integrating Nihon Kohden equipment with your EHR — as well as connecting your EHR with devices from other manufacturers — join us for a webcast on August 25th or August 31st. I’ll discuss several hospitals where we’ve integrated Nihon Kohden equipment, cover how to integrate devices from other manufacturers, and give a live demonstration of Accelero Connect.

See you online in August.