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Medicineworld.org: Use Of Information Technology In Hospitals

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Use Of Information Technology In Hospitals

Use Of Information Technology In Hospitals Physician Homer Warner (seated) consults with colleagues Alan Pryor (center) and Reed Gardner in 1970—in the early days of hospital information technology. (Photo courtesy of LDS Hospital)
Eventhough information technology is now common in a number of hospitals and biomedical laboratories, in the 1950s only a small number of scientists imagined its enormous potential. In 1967, supported by NCRR, doctor Homer Warner led a seminal effort that created one of the first bioinformatics systems. This work has influenced patient care, increased safety, and produced cost-effective service in hospitals around the nation. Today, NCRR continues its support of clinical bioinformatics as an integral component of the new Clinical and Translational Science Awards.

Clinical application of bioinformatics began in earnest when the University of Utah installed a state-of-the-art computer in the early part of 1960s. Back then, Warner became intrigued by the possibility of using this new technology with patients at the Latter-day Saints (LDS) Hospital. It wasn't long before he gained access to the giant machine and began writing programs to study coronary blood flow. Because the computer was only available at night, he set a cot beside it to sleep on while the computer slowly crunched numbers.

One of the central questions in his mind was how to obtain around-the-clock physiological information from post-operative cardiac patients. Warner resolved this problem by inserting catheters into patients' arteries. When connected through a computer, the apparatus calculated stroke volume, heart rate, cardiac output, and blood pressure on demand. Resulting data were displayed on the screen of an oscilloscope, and three small lights alerted nurses of abnormal vital signs that could lead to complications. This was one of the first uses of computers for preemptive patient monitoring, a concept now propagated through nearly every intensive care unit.

By the late 1960s, Warner obtained an NCRR grant to develop a computer facility for the medical community. Through this award, he acquired one of the first Control Data 3200 computers. "The CD 3200 was an amazing machine for its time," says Warner. "There was a total of 64K in the whole machine and it filled a 20-by-20-foot room, which mandatory under-floor air conditioning." Nonetheless, it was lightning fast for its time, with an ability to perform 800 calculations every second. The system placed LDS Hospital ahead of the curve. "We had visitors coming from all over the world to see our system," adds Warner.

As computer systems advanced, so did Warner's ideas. In the 1970s, using the CD 3200 computer, he developed a hospital information system named HELP (Health Evaluation through Logical Processing), which collected extensive patient data. The system eventually grew to incorporate information from various parts of the hospital-laboratory results, pharmacy prescriptions, nursing care plans, surgery schedules, and accounting-thus creating one of the first integrated clinical systems. This integrative approach to organizing and storing patient information gave health professionals access to the totality of records in one system, which supported their decision making.

In the late 1980s, HELP benefited thousands of patients. At LDS Hospital, automated prescription of antibiotics to surgical patients decreased the rate of adverse drug events by 30 percent and halved the cost of antibiotics per patient. In addition, in-hospital mortality dropped significantly. Almost 40 years later, Warner's initial technology gamble paid off handsomely by demonstrating how it could not only improve lives, but also save them.

By Al Staropoli



Posted by: Janet    Source




Did you know?
Eventhough information technology is now common in a number of hospitals and biomedical laboratories, in the 1950s only a small number of scientists imagined its enormous potential. In 1967, supported by NCRR, doctor Homer Warner led a seminal effort that created one of the first bioinformatics systems. This work has influenced patient care, increased safety, and produced cost-effective service in hospitals around the nation. Today, NCRR continues its support of clinical bioinformatics as an integral component of the new Clinical and Translational Science Awards.

Medicineworld.org: Use Of Information Technology In Hospitals

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