June 26, 2009

VHVI system streamlines flow of information

Featured Image

Waleed Irani, M.D., left, Fred Gehrish, of vendor Agfa/Heart Lab, and Chris Lewis review VHVI’s new Cardiology Information System at a recent training event. (photo by Mary Donaldson)

VHVI system streamlines flow of information

The Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute is gearing up to implement the Cardiology Information System, which promises to transform procedure scheduling, documentation, image viewing, reporting and billing.

After nearly a year in development, CIS will roll out this summer, beginning with the vascular lab and continuing for 18 months until all modalities are synchronized with the new system.

To properly diagnose patients, cardiologists and cardiac surgeons utilize the cardiac catheterization lab, cardiac MRI, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and vascular ultrasound, all of which were on separate information systems, meaning they were not able to compare modalities side by side or from settings outside of Vanderbilt.

“CIS will allow us to bring most of the modalities under one umbrella and consolidate those functions into a single system,” said Robin Steaban, VHVI administrative director.

Rashid Ahmad, M.D., VHVI chief informatics officer and project co-chair, expects the new system will improve workflow efficiency and, ultimately, patient care because it will enable physicians to:

Rashid Ahmad, M.D.

Rashid Ahmad, M.D.

• Create and access diagnostic and therapeutic images and reports (including StarPanel);

• Integrate with other Vanderbilt systems to enhance workflow and facilitate procedure scheduling and documentation, reporting, and billing functions across all affected modalities;

• Access and transfer images and reports to referring physicians from within the Medical Center or remotely (e.g., remote clinics, physician homes); and

• Function as a queriable clinical database, enabling efficient use as a data repository for research.

Vanderbilt purchased CIS from vendor Agfa/Heart Lab, and a team comprised of more than a dozen members has spent the past year customizing it to fit the needs of VHVI.

“We wanted it to be fully integrated into Vanderbilt's existing medical information system. Whatever we acquired needed to complement StarPanel, for example, to allow access to reports. It was also important that we gain remote access in order to do documentation and billing from One Hundred Oaks. Communicating and integrating with the Vanderbilt architecture was our guiding principle,” Ahmad said.

“Physicians will be able to see more information at their fingertips to make better decisions about their patients. The ability to query data and to study populations of patients is something we've never been able to do before,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., VHVI executive medical director.

CIS is comparable to information systems in place at the Cleveland Clinic and Duke Medical Center.

“CIS brings VHVI up to speed faster. The process of taking care of patients is about to get much more streamlined because we will eliminate redundancies,” Ahmad said.