CVIS: Getting the House in Order

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Cardiovascular information systems (CVIS) are providing the means to integrate the business of cardiology with the practice of cardiology at the point-of-care—with great results for managers. In essence, CVIS gets the house in order.

Healthcare organizations are taxed with finding solutions to manage the vast amount of patient information and data that are required these days. Electronic patient records, billing, inventory, reporting and scheduling can overwhelm the business side of cardiology.

Administer and deliver

To manage the deluge of information in their cardiology department, Carson Tahoe Regional Healthcare, which includes a regional medical center in Carson City, Nev., and several outpatient clinics, went online two months ago with Xper Information Management. It was the first installation of the new CVIS from Philips Medical Systems. Philips’ Xcelera echo reporting and ECG Management system also are integrated with Xper in this 135-bed facility.

While Philips’ CVIS features clinical tools such as patient records, hemodynamic monitoring and calculations and reporting, in these early days Carson Tahoe is concentrating on the administrative side of the system.

Scott Cochran, manager of cardiac and imaging services, says they have begun utilizing only a portion of the CVIS’ capabilities. “I thought it was better to go live with a smaller number of capabilities so we could master it,” he says.

Procedural data collection used to record real-time procedures—supplies, medications, patient status, tracking for conscious sedation, participants and outcomes. Tackling inventory management includes instituting bar codes and attaching dollar amounts to products. From there, Cochran says they’ll look at charge capture, reporting to national registries, statistical analysis and remote reporting for physicians.

“The full capability of the system could take a couple years,” he says, because they are making sure each stage rolls out smoothly and thoroughly.

Stand up and be counted

The 400-bed South Shore Hospital with its new $13.5 million Cardiovascular Center in Weymouth, Mass., installed GE Healthcare Centricity in November 2005 to centralize and automate cardiology data. With eight cath and echo labs, annually they perform 2,000 interventional procedures and nearly 12,000 cardiology imaging studies.

Like Carson Tahoe, South Shore is in the midst of implementing the inventory management portion of CVIS. William Burke, MHP, RT(CV), director, cardiovascular medicine, says, “The cath lab is a source of huge expense for most hospitals. Without a reliable tool to track usage and re-order only what you use that day [just-in-time inventory], a department can risk overstocking with the wrong supplies and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars mistakenly.”

Burke points to other benefits of CVIS that include reducing paper tasks and errors and time delays during procedure and supply documentation. “A true CVIS allows the clinical documentation created by the technologist, nurse and physician to generate applicable CPT codes as well as a decision-support tool to be used by a dedicated cardiovascular coder,” he says.

CVIS replaces the dry eraser boards used to track the status of cases in most cardiac cath labs. Most labs have up to a 40 percent add-on rate, says Burke—and, until now, the board was the only tool available to track changes. GE Centricity uses a large LCD monitor with a web-based schedule application viewable anywhere in the hospital to appropriate staff. Burke says sharing this information dynamically allows staff to better understand the flow and effectively organize their resource.


Defining CVIS Goals at South Shore Hospital Cardiovascular Center
  • Maximize the efficiency of the clinical staff resources such as physicians, technologists, nurses and support staff.
  • Use of a single system (one-stop shop) for all technology needs, including physician reporting, operational statistics, charge capture, inventory management and regulatory reporting.
  • Provide real-time information to clinicians and referring physicians.
  • Use technology to increase the quality and safety of care delivery.
  • Provide leadership (administrators and physicians) with knowledge of all aspects of the cardiovascular center.
  • Integrate all equipment to a single database and platform.