Got IT issues? New software might be a cure

TRAVERSE CITY – Physicians and health care providers might be able to increase mobility and technology while streamlining their time thanks to new integration software just hitting the northern Michigan market.

Traverse City-based Integrated Systems Consultants (ISC) is introducing a "gateway" product that promises to integrate the many communication systems providers use in their daily practice. The software appliance acts as conduit between electronic medical records or EMR, practice management systems, office phone systems, mobile phones, PDAs and other intelligent devices used by physicians, nurses and their offices. The product is manufactured by triPRACTIX, a medical systems integrator headquartered in Fort Wayne, IN. It is available exclusively through ISC in Michigan.

According to Mary Morrison-Collins, general manager at ISC, the integration allows users with the ability to automate and improve how health care offices process phone calls, manage billable events and track patient management. It also provides a robust, secure network to ensure EMR functionality and security.

The benefits, she said, are cost savings by increased office efficiency, reduced errors and better staff and patient satisfaction.

The system is customized to fit the needs of each practice. ISC installs the triPRACTIX gateway device, often referred to as "the red box," in an office and then links it with the multiple smart devices that are already in place but not integrated. This could include an IP phone system, intelligent lab equipment, cell phones, scheduling software, billing systems, remote office systems, hospital communications and/or EMR.

Examples of the system at work may include alerts to physicians or nurses when patients check in for an office visit or are admitted to the hospital, or scheduling requests that are relayed to all involved. Other examples include a doctor's ability to make patient rounds from a car or while traveling, or ordering labwork or other testing by phone while still having a complete audit trail of the communication.

The initial impact, according to senior account executive John Sohacki, has been a great reduction in errors through the automation and increased time for patient contact.

"The health care industry has been begging for this integration," Morrison-Collins said, noting the positive response ISC has received.

"We are often asked how we can increase doctors' mobility," she said. "This means we are now able to centralize and touch physicians wherever they are … at a shared terminal in the hospital, a home office or on the road in-between."

The ISC system is HIPAA security certified and integrates with all open source software used for EMR, practice management and communications. Since the product's introduction last September, it has been installed in approximately 100 Michigan health care offices. It began hitting the northern Michigan market in January. BN