Healthcare // Electronic Health Records
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InformationWeek 500: Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Niche Specialties Are Key To Global Goals

Fetal Care Portal lets doctors, hospitals share important patient data.

Parents of seriously ill children often face agonizingly difficult medical choices, sometimes even before the birth of a baby. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is using a collaborative portal and real-time data to help them and their doctors during those trying times.

In some high-risk pregnancies involving identical twins, for instance, one baby will receive less blood flow from the placenta than the other, at times requiring surgery in the womb. It's cases like these where CCHMC turns to its Fetal Care Portal, which among other things, lets doctors at the hospital share information with physicians at two nearby hospitals where the actual surgery is often done. The portal draws in patient data, including electronic medical records and digitized radiology images and reports, so all the doctors are working from the same data.

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The portal also provides data about treatments and outcomes of patients with the same conditions who have been treated at the three hospitals that are part of the Fetal Care Center of Cincinnati. And doctors and researchers use the portal's database and query tools to analyze trends and formulate better treatments.

How It Works

The Fetal Care Portal was launched in 2006 for clinicians of the Fetal Care Center, which includes CCHMC, Good Samaritan Hospital, and University Hospital. CCHMC's IT team has been evolving and adding features over the past three years. A real-time interface for the patient scheduling component of CCHMC's e-medical record system is now under development. Besides helping doctors provide better care, the portal also supports CCHMC's business strategy to become a leader in niche areas, says CIO Marianne James.

Data about patients is entered into e-medical records, which doctors can access from the Fetal Care Portal along with information from various other systems, including radiology reports such as ultrasounds, echograms, and MRIs. Doctors can view records on two screens, letting them view images on one and written reports on the second.

Marianne James: IT is helping Cincinnati Children's build its reputation in specialized areas and expand its 'borders.
Marianne James: IT is helping Cincinnati Children's build its reputation in specialized areas and expand its 'borders.'
CCHMC is nationally known for several pediatric specialties, with U.S. News & World Report ranking it among the top five U.S. hospitals for neonatal care, respiratory, cancer, diabetes, and endocrine disorders in children. It's No. 1 for pediatric digestive disorders.

About 18% of the Fetal Care Center's patients require in utero surgery, and the Fetal Care Portal has helped doctors improve procedures. For instance, if data shows better results for women who waited until week 30 of pregnancy for a particular surgery, a doctor might recommend that a woman who's 28 weeks pregnant wait a week or two before having that surgery.

Go to the 2009 InformationWeek 500 homepage

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