Pueblo hospital noted for work with diabetes

Filed under: Health Care |

St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center has received national recognition for a study focusing on blood sugar control during hospitalization.
The center was one of five Colorado hospitals that participated in the RALS Study 2006, which compiled blood sugar data collected at 130 hospitals nationwide.
Participating hospitals were ranked according to inpatient glycemic (blood sugar) control in the intensive care unit and in non-ICU settings. At the conclusion of the study, St. Mary-Corwin’s ICU ranked in the top 5 percent and the medical center in the top 25 percent for overall diabetic control.
St. Mary-Corwin’s approach to blood-sugar control includes a comprehensive training and education program that provides information about preventing hypoglycemia, strict blood glucose targets, diabetes self-management, blood glucose monitoring and medical nutrition therapy.
Typically, blood sugar control for patients with diabetes has been an outpatient focus. More recently, it has received inpatient focus.
Research has shown that improved blood sugar control in hospitalized patients with diabetes has improved outcomes and decreased complications. The American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have both suggested stricter blood sugar goals for inpatients.
Patients with diabetes represent one in every two medical admissions and one in every three surgeries at St. Mary-Corwin. In addition, one-third of the patients with elevated blood sugar levels prior to surgery have undiagnosed diabetes. These patients would generally be expected to have a two-day longer hospital stays, greater complication rates and a higher mortality risks compared to non-diabetic patients.

Reports identify electronic record challenges

A series of reports have identified the challenges associated with using electronic health information records and exchange.
Released by the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the reports review 34 state health information exchange plans and suggest ways to help ensure the safety and security of electronic health information exchange.
The work was paid for by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and RTI International.
All states followed a standard core methodology, but each was provided an opportunity to tailor the process to its needs.
As a result, states varied on several key dimensions, including the degree of adoption of electronic health information exchange, health care market forces, legal and regulatory conditions, demographic composition and financial status.
“These reports address one of the greatest concerns that Americans have about health information technology: Will their personal data be safe?” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy. “This work presents information on how to develop privacy and security solutions that allow for the exchange of information safely and securely.”
Some of the key findings point to the need for additional research and guidance, including:

  • Identifying different interpretations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule among states and increasing awareness among stakeholders.
  • Addressing variations regarding the potential intersections between federal/state privacy laws.
  • Evaluating the technologies available to protect security and privacy of individuals as well as the associated administrative processes and liabilities.
  • Developing a system that accurately and consistently matches individual patients with their health record information — one that is created and updated by various health care providers/organizations.
  • Developing a standard set of definitions and terms to facilitate sharing of health information.

For example, terms such as medical emergency, current treatment, related entity and minimum necessary do not have agreed-upon definitions and may increase variation as organizations attempt to meet compliance.
The reports can be downloaded at www.healthit.ahrq.gov.

Georgia hospital sets up registration kiosks

A Georgia hospital is allowing heart patients to check in for appointment using self-service kiosks.
The Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon says the approach enhances the patient experience and that the program works with existing information technology systems, allowing for a streamlined registration process and improved work flow.
Later this year, the hospital will deploy the kiosks in other departments.
Patients swipe a credit card or enter their name, along with an additional way to identify themselves, such as a birth date. The kiosk allows patients to view and confirm appointment details, electronically sign consent forms, enter medical history and make co-payments.
When patients enter demographic, insurance or medical history information, it goes directly to the hospital’s other IT systems, eliminating the need for registration staff to manually re-enter patient data, which increases overall efficiency and improves data accuracy.
Surveys show that the kiosk technology decreases registration time by 75 percent. More than 90 percent of patients who have used the kiosks said there were satisfied with the experience.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.