UPMC’s Interoperability Project is an information technology initiative designed to make it easier and faster for care providers to access a patient’s complete electronic medical record — all in one place. UPMC is partnering with the leading software company in the field, dbMotion, to develop a tool to access and integrate patient information from the full range of UPMC eRecord systems, databases, and file formats. The goal is to enable providers to instantly view a unified patient record that presents everything on file about their patient, instead of checking a half-dozen different applications to get what they need. The UPMC dbMotion application is designed to automatically “connect the dots,” helping to ensure that every patient receives the right care at the right time in the right way, every time.
UPMC’s interoperability program went “live” on February 15, 2008 with four emergency medicine physicians and a physician assistant at UPMC Presbyterian and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. Over the coming month, a total of 35 primary care, specialty care, and emergency medicine providers will help evaluate and refine the pilot release. As the tool is further developed, the rollout will proceed quickly throughout UPMC to multidisciplinary teams of physicians, nurses, and other providers. Initial users have been able to view and act on information about clinical problems, allergies, medications, and laboratory results that their usual electronic systems would not have provided as quickly and conveniently.
Connecting the dots: The same approach to technology used to plan a trip drives interoperability
Travelers today use travel planning websites that gather information from several different airlines, multiple car rental companies, dozens of hotel chains, and serve it up in a clearly organized, cohesive format. UPMC is using that same approach to develop an interoperability platform that will integrate information from the organization’s many best-of-breed clinical databases to provide clinicians with a real-time, complete picture of a specific patient at the point of care.
At UPMC, various electronic health record (eRecord) applications contain important clinical information about our patients. In the age of electronic health records, the key to making good clinical decisions will be interoperability — or “connecting the dots” by giving physicians, nurses, and other caregivers the ability to quickly access fully integrated and complete data from many different data sources that contain patient information in various electronic formats. At the core of UPMC’s interoperability project is the ability to create a single unified patient record based on data from different information systems, formats, and sites and to exchange this information with referring providers and other clinicians involved in the patient’s care while protecting patient privacy and security.
In the fall of 2006, UPMC entered into a partnership with an interoperability firm, dbMotion, which provides electronic health information exchange for health care clients in Israel. UPMC and dbMotion are working to enhance dbMotion’s product and field testing it at the health system, with the ultimate goal of taking the product to a broader market. dbMotion established its North American headquarters in Pittsburgh in order to work with UPMC more effectively.
The service-oriented software architecture of dbMotion’s application enables it, with UPMC, to provide caregivers secure access to an integrated patient record composed from the patient’s medical data maintained at facilities that are otherwise unconnected or have no common technology through which to share data, without replacing existing information systems. A key goal of the project is to achieve “semantic interoperability” — the actual transfer of meaning — among our many clinical systems to seamlessly share patient information and allow physicians and other clinicians, no matter where they practice in the network, to have full access to all the information they need to make decisions at the moment they need it.