Connected Hospital
(University Hosptial, in Tbilisi Georgia, Russia)
Hospitals in the USA are all connecting to the net in some form.  Some are ahead of others, as far as connectivity.  (See the most connected hospitals in the USA).  We will look at three areas of Hospital Connectivity:

1) Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

2) In-hospital  Wireless Communication

3) Patient Portals

Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

Sometimes called “EHR”, or Electronic Health Record.  In this age of digitization, the healthcare is making the transition to putting a patients health history in digital form in a Electronic Medical Record.  This has been done in similar ways in other industries, such as banking, and the healthcare industry is essentially trying to catch up with present day technology.

Once the medical record is digitized, in todays wireless world, it can be accessed easily, with the proper permissions, from any wireless device.  A doctor in his office, and log on his iPad in his office, and check on lab work, or imaging studies done to his inpatients that he or she currently has.  While the doctor is in a cafeteria of another hospital, he or she may want to check on an MRI that was done at another hospital.  So, basically, it allows convenient and efficient access to the patients records anytime, anywhere.  Of course, this also allows access of the hospital for adminitrative tasks, like billing, according to the exact time stay, procedures, etc.

In short, it is huge step in improving access and communication regarding treatment of patients.  Some physician’s have been somewhat resistent to adopting using the EMR system, but it seems inevitable that total compliancy in the American healthcare system is inevitable.

In-Hospital Communication

Communication inside the hospital is vital between patient-nurse, nurse-doctor, doctor-doctor, doctor-adminstrator, etc.  Internet Medicine  and the age of digitalization provides wireless ways to improve all types of communication in the hospital setting.  And there are software companies, like Amcom Software of Chicago, that specialize in making software to make intra-hospital communication quicker, more efficient, and compliant with the dictates of HIPPA.  Incidentally, this software is currently being used at Emory University, in Atlanta.

See this video to see how this software enhances communication, within the hospital network at Emory University in Atlanta

Patient Portals

A patient portal is a computerized system in the hospital patient room, which allows for email access to physicians, finding test results online, keeping track of medications and appointments allowing patient to access the net for research, and other purposes.

Herein follow a few examples of the Most Wired  American hospitals that help patients be educated about their healthcare through “Patient Portals”, which are, essentially,  innovative online patient tools.

a) Cleveland Clinic

The reputable Cleveland Clinic is, as always, on the forefront of innovation, in this instance, Internet Medicine.  In  their customized MyChart EMR, the Cleveland Clinic service offers to:

-View your health summary, current medications, and test results as released by your physician

-Review past and upcoming appointments, as well as request and cancel appointments

-Receive important health reminders

-Request prescription renewals
-Notify us of changes to your mail or email address
-Manage healthcare for your loved ones with MyChart for Caregivers

b) Guthrie Health System in Sayre, Pa.

The eGuthrie online patient service at is a secure Internet portal, a customized MyChart application,  that funcitions much like that of the above Cleveland Clinic, including the MyChart for Caregivers.

The Guthrie System first tested the app with all the employees, to work out the kinks in the system, before releasing it to the public.

c) University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

(see Press Release)

Uses HealthTrak Portal, a customized application,  for patients from any digital device, including smart phones, pods and pads.

HealthTrak is connected to the huge 20 Hospital UPMC’s EHR system.

d)  Kaiser Permanente

This system has 3.4 million members, many who  use a patient portal called My Health Manager.   To understand what this application and powerful Patient Portal can do, take the My Health Manager Tour.

Being able to email clinicians directly is popular at Kaiser also; in 2010, members sent over 800,000 emails a month to clinicians.

The tasks performed by My Health Manager is similar to other patient portals; My appointments, My messages (with doctors, nurses, in an asnychronous fashion; fancy word that means “anytime”), My health plan manager My doctor (check out backgrounds, resumes, etc.), My medical records, My pharmacy, My profile.

About one third of Kaiser’s patients use this portal, which, they expect, will grow.
And, finally, see what Cerner Corporation has conceptualized what a “Smart Room” will look like, in the following two videos:









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