Vital signs in intensive care: Automatic acquisition and consolidation into electronic patient records

  • Fonseca T
  • Ribeiro C
  • Granja C
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Abstract

The integration of computer systems into clinical practice is a consequence of the growing sophistication of medical machinery. The fact that patient management in large institutions is handled by complex information systems brings about the need for integration between applications on both sides. The paper describes a prototype for automatic data collection from intensive care devices developed at Pedro Hispano Hospital in Portugal. The system acts as an application gateway between the network of patient monitoring devices and the general-purpose hospital network. The conformance to medical standards is one of the main concerns. The international standard Health Level 7 (HL7) has been adopted to import vital signs, as well as to prepare data for visualization in departmental applications and to organize archives. The design has followed the administrative and clinical processes in the hospital closely, leading to a successful interaction with the health professionals. Automatic acquisition eliminates transcription errors, improves the quality of records and allows the assembly of large electronic archives of vital sign data. The concern with data archiving in standard formats opens many possibilities for further analysis of the collected data sets. The possibility of communicating via the HL7 standard makes the whole system easily interoperable with applications in related domains.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Hospital records
  • Medical records systems
  • Standards, medical informatics
  • Systems integration

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