Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, based in Perth, is one of Australia's leading teaching tertiary hospitals. The bioengineers of the hospital's department of Medical Technology and Physics used LANSA to develop eMED, a Windows and SQL Server based system that manages the maintenance and quality assurance for over AU$80 million of medical equipment, as well as handling the purchasing and provision of radiation safety services. eMED has proven to be such a success that, with the help of LANSA partner Lateral WA, the system is now being implemented at other biomedical engineering facilities.
Alan Thomas, Biomedical Engineering Manager (Projects), says, "We have put our subject knowledge and empathy with Biomedical Engineering into building the eMED system. Using LANSA, we have been able to deliver a very professional solution. eMED helps us to manage the equipment from cradle to grave, provides technical support and complies with strict regulations."
eMED helps us to manage the equipment from cradle to grave
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH), a major hospital within Western Australia's North Metropolitan Area Health Service, has over 600 beds and 5,000 staff who treat over 420,000 patients every year.
The Medical Technology and Physics department (MTP) of SCGH provides management and training services in medical and scientific equipment, medical physics, radiation health, scientific computing, radiopharmaceutical production and diagnostic services in visual electrophysiology. MTP also offers technical and scientific advice on radiation management, the purchase and operation of medical equipment, software and consumable items, and solving of problems related to their use.
MTP's customers include over 30 departments of SCGH, such as the operating theatres, intensive care, coronary care and emergency departments. Other institutions on the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre grounds also make use of MTP's services, as well as various medical and educational institutions in the Perth area.
MTP manages sophisticated and expensive medical equipment, such as: Medical Networks, Patient Monitoring Systems, Anaesthesia Systems, Operating Theatre Equipment and Instrumentation, Ultrasound, MRI, CT Scanning and Radiation Monitoring. In any modern hospital, biomedical engineering plays a vital role in positive patient outcomes. Due to the critical nature of these activities, there are very strict procedures that need to be followed, such as regular compliance and safety checks. The people who use or maintain this equipment need to have suitable qualifications and expertise. Records need to be kept of all activities within the department, including patient records.
Until recently MTP was using an in-house developed Clipper based system that had been fine-tuned over a period of 25 years by MTP's own biomedical engineers. "It did exactly what we wanted it to do, but it was limiting our ability to interact with customers," says Alan. "Only MTP staff could access the system and all customer inquiries were dealt with by phone, email or fax. As both the volume of data and the number of customers were growing, that system could not continue to support us efficiently."
"Having developed the existing system ourselves, we had a deep understanding of the application and the knowledge of what works and what does not work. We did not want to lose any of the functionality that we already had".
Alan looked at what other hospitals have implemented and at several packaged solutions, but did not find anything suitable. He stated "Most packaged solutions are huge and have tons of fields and options that we do not need, but at the same time they lack in some of the precise functionality that we do require. Other packages are too thin, just database recorders with hardly any intelligence built into their programs."
"Our enquiries led us to seek advice from Lateral WA. They suggested that LANSA would be an ideal solution to our management upgrade. We evaluated LANSA and liked its high definition language and data definition repository. With training and support from Lateral WA we felt confident to embark on the project and develop the new version of eMED ourselves,” said Alan.
We did not want to lose any of the functionality that we already had
The eMED system is developed with LANSA Web Application Modules (WAMs) by two of MTP's own Biomedical Engineers, Zeljko Maurac and Jonathan Stafford, both with a bio-medical background and Steve Crossley with a radiation physics background . All have learnt programming in university, but none of them were trained as software developers.
After a four day Visual LANSA training course by Lateral WA, the engineers set out to develop the system planning for a rich client deployment user interface, but very soon realized that a browser interface would be more suitable, as it would not require any installation of software, other than a browser, on the users' desktop. They attended a few more days training in Visual LANSA WAMs and after that the engineers worked on the system by themselves.
Jonathon Stafford, a Bio-Medical Engineer at MTP, says "Lateral WA provided the initial training and was available in case we needed assistance. Lateral WA also assisted us along with our IT department to setup the Windows Application server and SQL Database Server."
The eMED system is now available to customers on the SCGH Intranet, allowing them to view details of their medical equipment and request services. eMED's functionality includes Medical Equipment Inventory and Management, Radiation Physics, Statistical Information, Purchasing and Invoicing, Business Contacts and Staff information including schedules, training and qualifications.
The eMED System manages all activities throughout the life of Medical Equipment. Any repairs or testing of equipment is logged through a work order. Regular performance and compliance tests are scheduled, flagging users when equipment is due to be tested. Spare parts are used through a work order and stock levels is set to trigger purchase requests when minimum quantities are reached. LANSA Integrator's email functionality is used to keep all users up-to-date with relevant information.
"The eMED System integrates with and enhances our existing AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 documentation system, simplifying document control and indexes while also providing easy access to relevant documents. Test forms and work instructions built within eMED enable us to keep our records paperless and produce reports only when required," says Stafford.
Future plans include to expand eMED to manage other sections of the department, such as the Electrophysiology Clinic and the Radiopharmaceutical group that manufactures radioisotopes using SCGH's cyclotron for use with the PET Scanner.
SCGH is soon to implement a wireless based real-time Patient Equipment Tracking System. It is envisioned that data from eMED will be freely exchanged between the two systems, possibly using LANSA Integrator.
SCGH is also committed to implement a Theatre Instrument System, which will discriminate down to individual instruments. This could be linked to the eMED system for theatre instrument maintenance.
eMED enables us to keep our records paperless and produce reports only when required
"We are a technical support facility for the hospital. We have put our subject knowledge and empathy with Biomedical Engineering into building the eMED system. eMED is not just a generic asset management system. It is a purpose built management system and is tailor made for medical equipment and radiation physics activities, built by medical engineers," continues Alan.
"We are an AS/NZS ISO 9001:2008 accredited department which is a Management system for all functions within the department. We have a proven track record of offering an excellent service to the hospital and the Health Department."
"By giving customers online inquiry and work-order access, they are now far better informed. Of course we are still involved in reviewing their requests and giving advice, but because orders are now remotely recorded and the workflow is automated, we have been able to streamline the process from start to finish and record all the steps as requests go through."
"LANSA was easy to learn and we are fortunate that we have people with development skills in our engineering team. If we find something in the system that can be improved, we can do that ourselves immediately. We do not have to wait and budget for the services of a third party."
"Being in control of the solution also allows us to meet special requests from our customers. We have very fine control of all the assets of medical equipment, current and archived. We exported the data from the old system and we can now use LANSA-built dashboard facilities in eMED to graphically analyze historical information going back over 25 years, which is very valuable," says Alan.
We have been able to streamline the process from start to finish
With the help of Lateral WA, eMED is currently being implemented at the Bio-Medical Engineering department of the Western Australia Country Health Service (BME of WACHS). WACHS is the single largest country health system in Australia, servicing half a million people across 2.55 million square kilometres and operating more than 70 small hospitals across the state, as well as a large number of nursing posts and other facilities. The eMED System is being modified to suit WACHS who has a slightly different way of costing their jobs, but the entire database setup and workflow logic remains the same.
"We want to be the leading Bio-Medical and Physics Organisation in Australia. To that end we are always looking for a better way of doing things. The eMED System is the evolution of all that," said Alan.
"Using our management systems, we are seeking ways to find the best outcome to improve our service. LANSA gives us this opportunity to do so. The eMED System is a sophisticated management system that has gone far beyond our original scope and it is still continuously evolving. LANSA gives us the flexibility to let eMED do what we want it to do and to give authorized users secure access to the information. Using LANSA we have been able to deliver a very professional solution," concludes Alan.
Using LANSA we have been able to deliver a very professional solution
Company and System Information
- Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH), located at the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre 4km from Perth city centre, is one of Australia's leading teaching tertiary hospitals. The Hospital has over 600 beds and employs approximately 5,000 staff who treat over 420,000 patients every year. SCGH has an international reputation for ground-breaking medical research and is home to Nobel Laureate Professor Barry Marshall.
- The eMED System has a zero deployment browser interface. At SCGH the eMED system is implemented on an IBM x235 running Windows Server 2003 Standard and an SQL server database.
- For more information visit www.scgh.health.wa.gov.au
- Lateral WA, a LANSA partner located in Perth, Western Australia, delivers a flexible, creative and cost-effective range of Information Technology and business skills. For more information visit www.lateral.com.au