Monitor Important Patient Data Transmissions
BJC Healthcare Leverages AutoPilot to Monitor Important Patient Data Transmissions
The abundance of new technology that healthcare organizations can leverage as part of their IT infrastructures can be complex to evaluate, especially when problems appear after products have been implemented.
The business-critical applications at BJC capture data at both doctor’s office and hospital settings. This data includes patient visit details, dates the patient was admitted, transferred, or discharged, lab results, vital signs, radiology reports and medication. Having this data available 24/7 and keeping the systems running smoothly to handle the large volumes of timely data are crucial to daily work. For its part, WebSphere MQ functions as the communication middleware that moves these data from the source to their processes, using individual queues along the way.
For instance, a doctor might dictate a letter through a specific transcription system. The letter is then transmitted using HL7, a standard for interoperability of health information technology through the electronic interchange of clinical, financial and administrative information among healthcare-oriented computer systems. WebSphere MQ is responsible for “store and forward” services, that is, highly reliable delivery of the data put in the queue by an application. An application converts the data from HL7 to XML and moves it to a report queue where the essential formatting and required tag elements are validated. The application will then look up the patient in the system based on the patient’s unique identification number. The next queue brings the message into the database, an outbound queue or an error queue (if it fails).
The same process is applied to lab results and pharmacy orders, both of which are extremely time-sensitive and, of course, patient-critical. Other time-sensitive information that isn’t transmitted can immediately elevate risk factors for patients.
Recognizing the need for a more robust monitoring platform happened to coincide with the system’s migration to clustering. A stronger and more reliable monitoring solution would be especially useful for error queues and queues that had an unusually large number of messages on them. But where would BJC be able to find an application performance management solution strong enough for such a complex data system?
Mike Tammenga, Technical Specialist in Information Services at BJC, was a key person on a team charged with finding a monitoring solution that could handle the high volume of transactions taking place within the IT infrastructure. He and his team evaluated a number of solutions— including IBM’s Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance—but there was ultimately one standout that caught their eye.
“One of the first things we noticed about Nastel AutoPilot is its simplicity to implement,” says Mike Tammenga. “That, coupled with a few other primary factors, was a huge selling point for us.”
While IBM’s solution was a major contender, the product was too expensive. AutoPilot’s comprehensive functionality, performance and high scalability proved to be a reliable and more affordable option. Between its predictive determination of problems, complex event processing, flexibility, simplicity of use, features and total cost of ownership, Nastel trumped the competition.
For queues that have built up, Nastel AutoPilot is efficient at monitoring and alerting IT staff as problems develop, thus improving customer satisfaction and decreasing the likelihood that a crucial error could be made. AutoPilot efficiently monitors the queues for their Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) and other healthcare applications that run on their servers.
Mike Tammenga adds, “In accordance with HIPPA regulations, Nastel AutoPilot helps us with our regulatory and compliance issues by safeguarding data as it is transmitted.
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