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Domino is just what Victory Springs' doctors ordered

Victory Springs Senior Health Care Associates has created a Domino Web-based patient information retrieval system that improves information exchange and care for the elderly.

During the next few weeks, will be profiling user companies that are among the candidates for the Achiever Awards. Those eligible are nominated by members like you, and represent user companies that are taking Domino and Notes applications to new limits in their IT environments. You can nominate your own Domino/Notes organization or be nominated by a vendor or consultant.

Our first profile is Victory Springs Senior Health Care Associates, a healthcare provider that has created a Domino Web-based patient information retrieval system that improves information exchange and care for the elderly.

The elderly are a tough act to follow, especially in healthcare.

"We see patients over many years as they age and as they check in and out of various facilities," said Michael Torppey, director of online operations at Victory Springs Senior Health Care Associates in Reisterstown, Md.

Now the healthcare provider is using Domino 5 Designer and Administrator, "nothing but Domino," says Torppey, to develop Smart e-Records, a new patient management system that can instantly deliver detailed medical records to its doctors and nurses anywhere in the field.

Victory Springs' geriatricians and nurses visit patients in hospitals, nursing homes and adult day care facilities, where they often encounter incomplete medical histories.

"Without a tool that gives our doctors ubiquitous access to information, from any host facility," Torppey said, "it's difficult to keep track of patients' medical histories and prescriptions, even to bill them correctly."

With Smart e-Records, healthcare workers use their Web browsers to document patient visits, and exchange data with all of the hospitals, labs and pharmacies connected to an individual patient.

Smart e-Records also generates electronic prescriptions, eliminating the notorious challenge of deciphering physicians' handwriting. The application also automates billing, which reduces the likelihood of inadvertent Medicare fraud.

Victory Springs' doctors, meanwhile, are crediting Smart e-Records with helping them respond more quickly to emergencies. "An emergency situation involves a lot of phone calls and sometimes a trip to the office to review patient records, which can take too much time," says Ursula McClymont, a physician at Victory Springs.

"But Smart e-Records," McClymont says "makes patient information immediately available, which makes the retrieval process more efficient and improves care overall." The company also hopes to incorporate Lotus' collaborative tools such as Sametime, QuickPlace and iNotes for the off-line replication of Smart e-Records' Web-based Domino databases.

Smart e-Records' high data availability, however, has placed security at the top of Victory Springs' list of priorities for the new application.

"Everyone in healthcare at this time is scrambling to meet HIPAA requirements," says Torppey, referring to the federal government's far-reaching Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under HIPAA is setting standards for facilitating information exchange between healthcare providers -- including the use of XML -- while trying to secure and protect the privacy of patient data.

Domino's security features, and its ability to integrate with the security architectures of other applications, will help bring Victory Springs' into compliance with HIPAA regulations, Torppey said.

Administrators, too, will be able to maintain tight controls over access to the Smart e-Records system. "Most of the databases, forms and views we use accept unique security controls and allow for the integration of rule-based access," Torppey said. "The administrator can control who sees what, at what time in the patient care process."

Administrators in Domino can also validate and create temporary authentications for external partners who need to review Victory Springs' records.

Beta testing at Victory Springs is 85% complete, and Torppey is planning to market his Domino application to other healthcare companies.

But Torppey said Domino's "emphasis on Web-based collaboration and security" means Smart e-Records may be able to serve not only doctors, but patients' families, too.

"What we're looking at now," Torppey said, "is a way to make staff notes available to family members, to make them a more integral part of this process."

Mark Baard is a contributing writer in Milton, Mass.

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