Article on Hartford Hospital for Sybase
(Filename: LPP Sybase Hartford)

Reengineering for Quality Assurance

Founded in 1854, Hartford Hospital is a large facility, with 885 licensed beds, 4700 employees, and 500 active physicians. Although individual departments have had automated records for many years, these were never linked together into a comprehensive clinical information system.

As we entered the 90s, however, our ongoing utilization review revealed costly duplicate procedures, which occur, for example, when a doctor doesn't know that a lab test has already been ordered. We saw that we needed a clinical information system that would have other built-in quality assurance capabilities as well, such as "rules-based" ordering, which automatically prompts users with questions related to any medication, tests, and other procedures they may be requesting.

We began in 1992 by putting in the necessary infrastructure, which included dual fiber optic cable and "best of breed" systems in Radiology, Pathology, Respiratory Therapy, and Pharmacy. Then we chose California-based Oacis Healthcare Systems to develop and install our on-line information system. The way their system presented data was very much in line with how we wanted our clinicians to access data. We knew the system to be intuitive, so that it would require very little training and encounter less resistance from users.

It was also clear that, to win the support of our physicians, the system had to be very fast-even though it would be handling large amounts of data due to our large patient population and the volume of information on our patients, which tends to be higher than usual because we specialize in trauma, cardiology, and cancer, and these areas involve frequent visits to the hospital with a variety of related tests. Oacis' system could handle this because it was based on the Sybase SQL Server database, which is well suited to a data intensive environment.