Most hospitals have lots of smart medical equipment, from monitors to intravenous pumps. But those smarts do little good unless the equipment communicates with the clinical computer system, receiving orders and downloading data.

Making those connections is a technical challenge that can be solved by collaboration. Baylor Health Care System CIO David Muntz will explain how his organization combined its information technology staff with its clinical engineers to increase the overall intelligence of its systems.

Joined by Mary Logan, president of the American Association for Medical Instrumentation, and Stuart Gardner, president of SG&A Consulting in Arlington, Texas, Muntz will explore how to accomplish data integration and real-time connectivity.

"There used to be a lot of manual processes and hand-offs," he says. "When we hooked someone up to a monitor in the emergency department, someone would collect their information on a piece of paper and re-enter it into the computer. But the monitor was already smart. Now it provides information directly. We still have to have someone intercept the data and make sure it's valid and not a loose lead, but the edit and review process produces significantly less effort and more data." 

Muntz says automated data collection also allows the staff to see patterns that they wouldn't have seen before. "We've already had a case where someone was watching a pattern of data from another floor, and saw a crisis coming," he says. "They were able to intervene before it happened."

Muntz will present at an educational session, titled "Connecting The Dots: The Emerging Opportunities For Collaboration Between IT And Clinical Engineering," scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 1-2 p.m.


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