'SARS-Ready' Software Debuts at Two U.S. Hospitals

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- Doctors and nurses anticipating a wave of potentially new patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) may have a new ally in the detection and treatment of the epidemic illness. Patient Care Technology Systems (PCTS) specializes in clinical information systems that enhance emergency room patient care and administration, has enhanced its Amelior ED software system protocols for rapidly identifying and treating SARS. The upgrades were released this week to Amelior ED customers nationwide.

Midland Memorial Hospital, of Midland, Texas and Mary Washington Hospital, of Fredericksburg, Va., are two of the PCTS customers who received the enhancements this week in preparation for future SARS patients. The technology allows emergency room physicians and staff to quickly identify patients presenting with SARS or SARS-like symptoms. After an automatic warning identifies a potential SARS candidate, the software expedites the ordering of SARS diagnostic and nursing interventions. The SARS alert is the latest example of the broader Amelior ED feature of recommending diagnostic treatments.

"SARS remains a global health concern and hospital emergency rooms are on the frontline in dealing with this epidemic," said Rephael Inbar, president and CEO of Patient Care Technology Systems. "We are providing physicians and ER staff with a technology support system that allows them to rapidly identify and treat SARS patients. At the same time, doctors and staff can easily cross-communicate with one another, which results in better coordinated care for patients presenting symptoms associated with this very challenging epidemic."

ER physicians and staff using the Amelior ED system access its diagnostic and clinical information through a series of simple "point and click" prompts. The process begins with the patient's admittance into a facility on either a desktop or mobile computer workstation with the Amelior ED software technology. Nursing or hospital admitting staff records a patient's information, including medical status, symptoms and medications in use.

The patient is then assigned an "urgent" or "emergent" status (color coded) that is transmitted to other Amelior ED workstations in the ER. ER physicians will then prioritize which patients should be seen first. As the physician confers with the patient, he or she can simultaneously access Amelior ED's data library to assess relevant clinical information. Amelior ED will offer suggested diagnostic tests and treatments, which are all embedded in its software. Data is then simultaneously transmitted to other hospital departments that may be woven into the care regimen, including laboratories, radiology, and administration to expedite procedures, approvals and results.

"Time is critical in the emergency room," added Dr. Clif Sheets, an ER physician at Mary Washington Hospital and user of the Amelior ED system. "With the heightened concern over SARS, quickly identifying candidate patients and prescribing appropriate tests and treatment are pivotal. Amelior ED has proven successful at our facility in helping reduce patient waiting and treatment time, enhancing patient safety, and expediting communication among hospital staff and administration."

"We think Amelior ED will be a key tool in the battle to better manage and control SARS outbreaks," Inbar concluded. "Also important will be having easy access to patient data and being able to share that with public health officials at a moment's notice. Facilities that have Amelior ED will be able to work with health officials to quickly identify patient populations at risk of SARS exposure in their community based on who they've seen and treated."

Source: Patient Care Technology Systems

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