June/July 2004

Advanced Clinical Information System Moves to Testing Stage


The five Catholic Health Initiatives market-based organizations that are piloting the Advanced Clinical Information System (ACIS) have emerged from the “build” phase of implementation into system and integration testing. ACIS, which provides real-time, on-line viewing of patient information and clinical results in this phase, is moving Catholic Health Initiatives closer to completely computerized electronic patient records. ACIS will eventually combine patient information from the bedside, laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, medical records, nurses station and emergency department. The system will allow clinicians to access patient information more quickly, which will enhance patient care and safety. Initially, clinicians will use personal computers to access ACIS; in later phases of implementation, they will be able to use bedside and wireless devices. While some features will vary by location, all market-based organizations will implement the following elements of ACIS:
  • Electronic Clinical Results (PowerChart) allows realtime access and viewing of clinical and demographic information, including laboratory results, radiology reports, transcribed documents and documents scanned electronically after patient discharge. Clinicians can also easily trend clinical results over time.
  • Emergency Department Tracking (First Net) enables triage nurses, emergency physicians and staff to electronically coordinate patient movement in the emergency department. It provides an at-a-glance location and status reports on all emergency patients. In addition, emergency physicians can document patient care online, which makes the information readily available to the next team of caregivers if a patient is admitted or returns to the emergency department.
  • Chart Deficiency Tracking and Electronic Signature (Health Information Management and ProFile) identifies and tracks chart deficiencies, such as incomplete or missing clinical reports, and notifies the appropriate physicians electronically. Physicians can sign these documents electronically from any workstation, saving trips to the medical record department.
  • Laboratory (PathNet), surgery (SurgiNet) and scheduling applications are also being implemented at selected market-based organizations.
ACIS is being implemented in three phases. Phase I will become operational at the five participating locations starting in fall 2004 and concluding in spring 2005. Phase II will include pharmacy, online nursing documentation, orders and clinical charts. Phase III will be computer-based physician order entry (CPOE), which will occur at a time and pace determined by each individual market-based organization. All three phases will be implemented in all market-based organizations by the end of fiscal year 2007. Catholic Health Initiatives will provide training for clinicians and other staff members who will use the system. For more information about ACIS, contact Cade Spearman, director of clinical applications for Catholic Health Initiatives, at cadespearman@catholichealth.net.

Five Market-based Organizations First to Implement ACIS The Advanced Clinical Information System is initially being installed at five market-based organizations that represent about 45 percent of the total number of patients cared for within Catholic Health Initiatives. They are:
  • Franciscan Health System, Tacoma, Wash.
  • Mercy Medical Center, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Saint Joseph HealthCare, Lexington, Ky.
  • St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Joplin, Mo.
  • St. Vincent Health System, Little Rock, Ark.