Monday, February 20, 2006

Skinny labels

We had two more training sessions last week. The first one dealt with billing, both to the provincial government and for private bills. The second session dealt with scanning documents and managing security. There is a high level of security with the RSA security fobs (see Glossary) , and we have different passwords for everything (logging in at the office, logging in from home via VPN, logging in to manage security fobs, logging in to server to submit claims to the government). These passwords are proliferating like yeast spores.

Scanning documents seems to be a complicated undertaking. You have to scan, import to the program, file with the patient chart, review and sign off. It is a shame that most of health care is still electronically disconnected; so far, only labs will send results directly to a patient's chart. I hope that more pieces will connect in the next few years; perhaps facilities that do not connect will find patient volumes dropping, as physicians will choose those that have made the effort to share data. Secure physician email will soon be widely available via OntarioMD; perhaps my specialist colleagues can email me reports through this portal. I can certainly use that to transmit referrals.

We also went over printing options. I am buying two Dymo label printers; one will be dedicated to printing skinny labels for test tubes or swabs. My staff won't have to laboriously write the patient's name on the tubes anymore. I wonder if we could add UPC codes to the printed labels; that would certainly help to track them. It is amazing to me that I can enter a code in Google and see where my Fed-ex package is, but I can't track vital patient tests at all. A UPC code would also help the lab process tests more efficiently; perhaps I could send the lab requision electronically to a central lab repository, such as OLIS, instead of using the paper forms.

Some computers came on Friday. We unpacked the PCs and the monitors, and put them where we want them. The screens look very sharp. The tablet PC should arrive this week, and the company is sending someone to set up and test the whole system. One of my two old computers died last week (hard drive failure), so I am back to writing letters by hand until we get the new system.

We have staggered go-live dates for my group (only one office per day). The first office starts this Wednesday. I have less than two weeks to go.



Unknown said...

As I probably go with a tabletPC for my clinic, it will be of great interest for me to hear about your experience in making the choice of this technology.

I have read a lot about that but I can't find someone who use it live like you.

How do you choose between a slave, convertible or hybrid ? If you have to choose again, will you make the same choice ? Any deceptions ? Any advices you can give me ?

Thanks again for you handful blog !
Our regional projet is doing well, I have enthousiast doctor..

√Čric Paradis MD

Michelle Greiver said...

I would not choose a slate. Typing is faster (at least for me) than writing. When you write a prescription, you want to type the first few letters, and have it auto-fill. Slates do not have keyboards.

I have a convertible, the Lenovo X41. I carry it as a tablet, but often convert it to laptop once in the room. I don't like the button mouse, and a wireless mouse did not work for me (you still have to plug in the USB transmitter). I just use the stylus to write on the screen. Weight is 3.5 lbs, which is reasonable, and my left arm is not hurting me at the end of the day.

In hindsight, I would do the same thing. Because the Tablet goes everywhere with you, it quickly gets customized to your liking (websites, things on your desktop, cribnotes etc). It feels like a big PDA to me. It is more difficult to customize with static PCs in each room, you have to do each one. Price for a Tablet is more than for a laptop, but this is something that I use every day that I am in the office, all day, so it is worth it to me.

As far as advice, please make sure that you have the bigger, 8 cell, battery; buy a docking station with a mouse and a keyboard (will help you with recharging, and for when you have to enter more data). Buy good networked printers and put them everywhere so you don't have to walk to get your prescriptions or handouts.