GE Medical To Offer Wireless Data System To Hospitals

Some medical centers are aiming to replace paper charts with wireless systems.
Paper charts on a clipboard have long been a staple for doctors, but some medical centers are aiming to replace them with wireless systems. GE Medical Systems Information Technologies, a unit of General Electric Co., is offering a way to do just that.

GE Medical recently completed the $68 million acquisition of Data Critical Corp., a provider of wireless telemetry and communications technologies for health care, and its subsidiary VitalCom, a developer of software and wireless patient-monitoring networks. The acquisition will let GE Medical incorporate Data Critical's wireless patient-monitoring technology into a Unity Wireless Network for Healthcare, which is scheduled for release next year, according to Greg Lucier, president and CEO of GE Medical. GE Medical also has formed a partnership with Corechange Inc., a provider of portal and access framework software, to integrate Corechange's Coreport into hospital systems to create a single sign-on system to manage access to patients' records.

One GE Medical customer plans to eliminate paper charts within the next three years. Jeff Rush, director of information services at Community Hospitals of Indiana, a chain of four hospitals in Indianapolis, is currently managing wireless data carts for nurses in intensive-care units, as well as working on a drug-administration charting system and a physician order-entry and documentation application. Rush plans to use Coreport and wireless access to make it easier for his medical personnel to access his system, as well as to cut costs.

"From a single sign-on, I can reduce the amount of time it takes to maintain log-on and passwords, which reduces overhead in the IT department," says Rush. Wireless technology also reduces the time needed to deliver a product because it doesn't require the installation of wireline systems in each room, he adds.

GE Medical plans to integrate Coreport with its own offerings by the end of the year. Pricing has not been determined.