Update: Siemens Innovations 2010 parting thoughts

Innovations 2010 is in the books and I’m back home after a four day stent in Orlando. It’s not uncommon for me to get a little overwhelmed at a conference because there’s simply too much information to digest at one time. Sometimes it takes me a few days to mull over the information and decide what I’m going to do with it. After all, I can’t use everything I learned because some of it simply doesn’t apply to my situation. In addition I spent more time talking with people one-on-one this year than in years past. I feel like I get more out of people when I can direct the conversation where I want it to go.

Well, it turns out that long plane rides and airport delays are a good time to get your thoughts together, toss around some ideas and make some decisions. While I have a long list of Siemens specific items to look over when I get back to work tomorrow, I won’t bore you with those here. Instead I thought I would share some general thoughts about my Innovations 2010 experience.
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Update: Siemens Innovations 2010 final day

Today is my final Day at Innovations and I’ve managed to pick up quite a bit of good, useful information that has the potential to improve our operations back at the hospital. I’ve been in my current position as an IT pharmacist for about 2 1/2 years now and this is my third Innovations conference. I finally have enough experience under my belt to start putting the pieces together in a manner that allows me to gather information in a more strategic fashion, rather than just running around trying to gather enough information to put out fires.

This years Innovations conference was heavy with sessions on ARRA, meaningful use and CPOE. I’m not surprised as this is where all the money will be for vendors involved in HIT over the next several years.

Anyway, I feel there are a couple of presentations I attended yesterday that are worth mentioning.
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Update: Siemens Innovations 2010 – Day 1

Today was the first real working day at Innovations. Yesterday was taken up by all the registration stuff that you have to do when you arrive at a conference, and the welcome reception. Most of the morning was fairly benign as a good chunk of it was taken up by the opening session. I’m not a big fan of opening sessions as they tend to all sound the same. However, I did manage to squeeze in a couple of good sessions in addition to spending some time at the expo. I general love roaming the expo, but this year’s vendor selection is quite small and not really that interesting. It only took me about an hour to run through all the booths and collect a little reading material for later.

One unplanned event that I have to mention was the pleasure of eating breakfast next to Johnathan Paul, a senior engineer in enterprise R & D at Siemens. He casually sat down next to me this morning and asked me what sessions I was planning on attending. I promptly gave him my spiel about attending the various pharmacy sessions, but in addition I lamented the fact that I was going to miss the presentation on “Virtualization, Cloud Computing, SOA, Elasticity, De-Duplication…What Do These Technical Terms Really Mean and How Do We Apply Them?” because it was at the same time as the pharmacy update. I didn’t know at the time, but he was the presenter for that session. After I got past my initial embarrassment we had a great conversation about many of the topics he planned to cover. I came away with some great information and knowledge that Siemens is doing things behind the scenes that makes me downright giddy.
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Siemens Innovations ’10 here I come

I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight. I’m on my way to Orlando for Innovations ’10 for Healthcare IT. Innovations is an annual conference put on by Siemens, who promote themselves as “ a global powerhouse in electronics and electrical engineering, and operates in the industry, energy and healthcare sectors.” The hospital where I work uses several products from Siemens including Siemens Pharmacy, Siemens Medication Administration Check (MKA) and Soarian, which is their clinical information system for physicians and nurses, and the foundation for their CPOE system.
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Cool Technology for Pharmacy

There were several vendors strutting their stuff at Siemens Innovations this week in Philadelphia. Here are a couple of products I thought were pretty cool.


Imprivata OneSign Platform:”Imprivata helps organizations secure employee, contractor and temporary hire access to desktops, networks, applications, and transactions – – enforcing who gets access; providing visibility into what was accessed; and ultimately, terminating all of a user’s network and application access, instantly. Imprivata OneSign® is an identity and access management platform that strengthens user authentication to networks; streamlines application access; and simplifies the process of compliance reporting–all delivered through a secure, self-contained appliance that requires zero modifications to existing IT infrastructure, and is centrally managed from a single administrative console. “ – The Imprivata OneSign Platform offers single sign-on to all enterprise applications. This is something I’ve been interested in as pharmacists have to log into no less than five different systems to do their job; at our facility anyway. It makes sense to me to use information from a single location to create single sign-on access for employees. The OneSign Platform is pretty flexible, allowing users to choose from password validation, proximity cards, RFID, biometric scan, and flash drives among other options for user authentication.

toughbook_t8Toughbook T8: “Lightweight, yet Durable – Weighing in at 3.3 lbs., the Toughbook® T8 business-rugged laptop combines light weight and durability, with a built-in a magnesium alloy case, sanitizable rubber hand strap, embedded wireless, and added security and remote management with Intel® Centrino® 2 with vProâ„¢ technology. Built with legendary Toughbook reliability and unparalleled portability, the drop- and spill-resistant Toughbook T8 keeps up with today’s busy mobile professionals.” – I had an opportunity to play with this tough little dude and I have to say I was impressed. The T8 is light enough to hold securely in one hand via the strap located on the underside. It’s not a full blown tablet PC, but does offer a nice touchscreen interface, which allows you to move around the screen with only your finger. And it’s tough. The T8 is designed to survive a fall of 2.5-3 feet. The only thing missing, in my opinion, was a swivel screen.

Siemens Innovations ’09 – The End

Siemens Innovations has officially come to an end. My time in Philadelphia was good, but I will be happy to get home to the “dry heat”. The information I picked up was very valuable and I made some great contacts. I’m excited to get back to work and see what damage I can cause with my newly acquired knowledge.

As I wrap up my time here at Innovations ’09 a few thoughts come to mind:
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Siemens Innovations ’09 – update, part deux

I spent the day attending the following educational sessions:

Where did My Mumps Job Scheduler (MJS) Go? – This was a pretty basic “how-to” session covering the new job scheduler, Cache, used in the latest version of the pharmacy system. Boring, but helpful.

Integrating Siemens Pharmacy to Maximize the Pharmacist Role – This was the most interesting presentation of the day, by far. Yakima Valley Memorial hospital is located in Yakima, Washington. Their pharmacy department is clinically solid and technologically advanced. They make extensive use of various custom pharmacy system reports to monitor antibiotic therapy, follow patients with poor glycemic control, and follow-up on patients with questionable orders. In addition, Yakima is in the process of writing advanced rules against their pharmacy system to track patients receiving warfarin therapy with no INR within the previous 24 hours. The warfarin monitoring is necessary to meet National Patient Safety Goal 3E. Much of the information is practical and can be reproduced at my facility.

Hitting the Mark with MAK! – Everyone wants to learn more about MAK, Siemens BCMA solution, and there have been presentations on just about every aspect of the system. This was no exception as the entire presentation was on how to develop a project plan for MAK implementation. This one nearly put me to sleep.

Leveraging MAK/MAR Integration to Achieve Increased Operational Efficiency – Centra State Healthcare System has done some pretty amazing things with their MAK data and the electronic medication administration record (MAR) found in Soarian. Soarian is Siemens system for collecting and displaying clinical information such as labs, allergies, patient assessments, physician notes, etc. Centra managed to create an integrated solution that offers physicians a one-stop-shop for clinical information as well as previous, current, and future medication administration. I was impressed. It appears I have a little reading to do when I get home.

I spent most of the afternoon talking with other pharmacists about computerized provider order entry (CPOE) and pharmacy automation. One pharmacist from CaroMont Health in Gastonia, NC was particularly interesting as his facility uses almost the exact same setup as ours; Siemens Pharmacy, Pyxis, and Talyst automation. He and I shared quite a bit of information. The time spent talking with other pharmacists was very valuable, possibley more valuable than all the presentations combined. 

Tomorrow is the final day of Innovations ’09 with more of the same on my agenda. Sessions on my radar for tomorrow include: Extending Patient Safety with MAK Beyond the Acute Inpatient Setting, Building the Bridge between MAK and Soarian, and Raising the Bar for Patient Safety. After that, it will be time to pack up and head for the airport; until then.

Siemens Innovations ’09 – update

I just finished my last session of the day here in Philadelphia, and overall I would have to say it was a productive one.

My first session today was an update on various future enhancements to both the Siemens Pharmacy System and their barcode medication administration system (BCMA), fondly referred to as MAK. The future enhancements bring much needed functionality to a system that, in my opinion, wasn’t ready for prime time.
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Siemens Innovations ’09 – Opening Session

This mornings opening session for Siemens Innovations ’09 was delivered by Janet Dillione, CEO of Health Services Siemens Healthcare. Not surprisingly, the opening speech was focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and healthcare reform. Healthcare information technology took center stage from about an hour.

Some items of interest to me were:

  • Based on the presentation slides, it appears that Siemens is betting on CPOE being the gate through which all hospitals will have to travel to qualify for “meaningful use” healthcare dollars. However, Dillione does not necessarily believe that most hospitals will be able to accomplish CPOE implementation by the end of 2011. This statement is particularly interesting when you consider that Siemens has a unique insight into their customer base, and would love nothing more than to install CPOE in hundreds of healthcare systems across the United States. It makes me wonder how hospitals will choose to handle CPOE over the next 18 months.
  • Soarian will be the focus of Siemens implementations over the next year as they build the foundation for CPOE with better clinical functionality and documentation. Dhillone spent a lot of time hyping the speed and stability of the most recent Soarian release.
  • Doing more with less was a common theme throughout the opening remarks. Focus was placed on hospitals doing a better job of managing patients with chronic healthcare conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart failure by making better use of “clinical people”, specifically physicians and nurses. That’s right, pharmacists were never mentioned.
  • Not one time did Dillione mention pharmacists or advancing their line of pharmacy based products. I found this a little disappointing as pharmacists have been shown to be cost effective when used appropriately. In addition the Siemens Pharmacy system is tied into many other Siemens products, including CPOE, BCMA, admitting, financials, and lab.
  • “Integration” is out and “Interoperability” is in. Time was spent discussing the need to make Siemens products interoperable. I think we need to develop some standards for much of the software available in healthcare before claiming interoperability. As far as I’m concerned all Siemens products should be plug-and-play out of the box when utilized with other Siemens products. The problem exists when a third party vendor needs to tie into your primary system (i.e. Siemens Pharmacy, Siemens MAK, Siemens Soarian, etc.). To the best of my knowledge basic guidelines may exist, but there is certainly no standard. Did I hear someone say “cloud”? Well, I certainly think that’s an approach we should be investigating. It’s difficult to ignore interoperability when all the information is centrally located and all you have to do is create access to it.
  • Sessions I’m attending today include: Siemens Pharmacy/Med Administration Check Solutions Update, A Detailed Approach to Workflow Data Collection and MAK Design, and Barcoded Medication Administration: Is It a Luxury or Standard of Care?.

    More to follow…..