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Integration of Hospital Automatic Data Collection Technologies

Review of Automatic Data Collection Equipment

By David J. Piasecki, with
Hope Hetico; RN, MHA

While hardware costs of automatic data collection [ADC] equipment continue to come down for hospital and healthcare organizations, the cost of integration will often prove to be the project buster. Software and integration costs will often be several times the cost of the hardware, especially in smaller health system operations where only a few devices will be used. Integration of ADC technologies is also far from standardized.

www.HealthcareFinancials.comHO-JFMS-CD-ROM

Example:

For example, when implementing a system with portable terminals, one integrator may create a program on the terminals that will write directly to the file on the host system, another may create programs on a separate server to do this, another may write or modify a program on your host system and use terminal emulation software, and another may use a screen mapping tool to reformat an existing program to be used on the portable device. So, make sure to speak with several integrators to ensure the best solution. Also, make sure to participate heavily in equipment selection and program/process design (prompts, data input) to ensure a system that provides the highest levels of accuracy and productivity.

Real-Time Locator System 

A real-time locator system (RTLS) uses RFID technology that provides the objects they are attached to the ability to transmit their current location.  The system requires some type of RFID tag to be attached to each object that needs to be tracked, and RF transmitters/receivers located throughout the facility to determine the location and send information to a computerized tracking system. While it sounds like a great way to eliminate “lost” inventory, the systems are still too costly for most inventory-tracking operations and are more likely to be used to track more valuable assets.

Screen Mapping/Screen Scraping

This software provides the functionality to change the arrangement of data fields on a computer screen that accesses a mainframe computer program. Screen mapping is frequently used in combination with terminal-emulation software to “remap” data fields from a standard mainframe program to be used on the smaller screen of a portable hand-held device.

Speech-Based Technology

Speech-based technology, also known as voice technology is really composed of two technologies:  (1) voice directed, which converts computer data into audible commands, and (2) speech recognition, which allows user voice input to be converted into data.  Portable voice systems consist of a headset with a microphone and a wearable computer.

Terminal Emulation

Software used on desktop and portable computers is available that allows the computer to act like a terminal connected to a mainframe system. If you have a networked desktop PC and are accessing mainframe programs (green screen programs) you are using terminal emulation. Terminal emulation is also a common method used to connect portable computers (as in pharmacy bar-code ADC systems) to mainframe software.

Warehouse Management System

Computer software designed specifically for managing the movement and storage of materials throughout the healthcare system warehouse or chain of command generally controls the following three operations:  (1) put-away, (2) replenishment, and (3) picking.  The key to these systems is the logic to direct these operations to specific locations based on user-defined criteria.  Warehouse Management Systems (WMSs) are often set up to integrate with ADC systems. 

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Can you think of any other data integration technologies?  Tell us what you think. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Hospital Automated Data Collection

Understanding Data Capture Technologies

By David J. Piasecki, with
Hope Hetico; RN, MHA

Automated data collection (ADC), also known as automated data capture, automated identification (AutoID) or automated identification and data capture (AIDC), consists of many different technologies. Bar codes, voice systems, RFID, OCR, laser scanners, vehicle mounted and wearable computers are all part of ADC management and hospital inventory activities.

www.HealthcareFinancials.comHO-JFMS-CD-ROM

Six-Figure Projects

However, the fear of six-figure project costs often prevent many small to mid-sized hospitals and healthcare systems from taking advantage of these technologies. The key to implementing cost-effective ADC systems is to know what technologies are available and the amount of integration needed to implement them. Applying this processing knowledge in a healthcare organization will help in developing the scope of any project. Limiting projects to or prioritizing by those applications that have a high benefit/cost ratio allows these operational improvement technologies within a reasonable budget. 

Example:

For example, adding a keyboard-wedge bar-code scanner to an existing personal computer (PC) or blade terminal in a nursing station is a very low-cost method for applying ADC to existing hospital reporting applications. This type of hardware is inexpensive and the only real programming required is to add a bar code to the proper form (work order, pick and delivery slip, etc).

Review of the ADC Technologies

Some of the current hospital data capture technologies include the following:

a. Bar Codes

b. Bar-Code Scanners

Laser or CCD 

Auto-Discrimination

Keyboard-Wedge Scanners 

Fixed-Position Scanners

c. Portable Computers

d. Batch versus Radio Frequency

e. Hand-Held Devices

f. Vehicle-Mounted Devices

g. Wearable Systems

h. Voice Technology

i. Optical Character Recognition

j. Light Systems

Assessment

Driven by a need for improved data capture, asset management, staff mobility and standardized medication administration to name a few benefits, hospitals are likely to invest much more heavily in ADC and Wi-Fi technologies over the next five years, according to this new research report.

Link: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/WiFi-Healthcare-Systems-to-Hit-49B-878082/

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Tell us what you think. Can you think of any other hospital data capture technologies? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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