Innovative tools of the trade
By Jessica Jeppsson
Cleansing and coding
Proventix really embodies its ad slogan: “eliminating the spread of infections and diseases in healthcare and hospitality.” Its nGage hand hygiene system is revolutionizing healthcare compliance and helping save many of the estimated 247 lives lost daily due to healthcare-acquired infections, particularly MRSA.
MRSA, or methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, is a disease caused by staph bacteria that becomes immune to antibiotics. MRSA infections in healthcare settings typically result from bacteria entering the body during invasive procedures or from devices, such as intravenous tubing or artificial joints. The Centers for Disease Control recognizes that better employee hand hygiene helps reduce MRSA-related complications.
Proventix displays are located above soap and alcohol dispensers, and each employee is outfitted with a tag bearing the Proventix logo. These displays and tags are connected to a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) network to monitor and remind employees to wash their hands. With each worker wearing a personalized RFID tag, the system notes how often the employee performed a cleansing event (either sanitizing or washed hands), but also, through tracking the proximity of the employee’s tag to a station’s display, how many total opportunities for cleansing there were. When a healthcare employee uses a cleansing station, the display automatically emits a personal message to that employee that can be a generic reminder about cleansing, or person-specific, displaying each worker’s compliance percentage. Managers and executives can use this stored data for performance and compliance reviews.
San Diego-based A-Life Medical Inc. is another healthcare pioneer that provides computer-assisted coding products and services. Using its patented Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology, LifeCode, A-Life deciphers electronically transcribed patient encounters via the Internet through its data center, coding them for reimbursement.
LifeCode extracts a patient’s clinical information from free-text medical records. The information goes to A-Life’s Actus system, which codes patient encounters and is powered by LifeCode. LifeCode electronically reads and comprehends electronic medical records similar to that of a human coder, but much quicker, freeing human resources for other important tasks such as coding more difficult documents or quality assurance.
OhioHealth recently engaged in a contract with A-Life to use its LifeCode system in five of its facilities, lauding A-Life’s reputation for accurately, quickly and efficiently deciphering patient encounters.
“A-Life has established a proven track record in key areas necessary to our success, which include enterprise coding, inpatient and outpatient facility coding, professional coding and the potential for NLP abstraction to improve clinical decision making and support,” said Diane Setty, corporate director of health information management at OhioHealth.
Jessica Jeppsson holds bachelor's degrees in industrial engineering and in operations and supply chain from North Carolina State University. She currently is employed as a solution engineer for a software company.