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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program transforms bedside patient care with FileMaker solution

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Through a custom FileMaker solution and FileMaker Go for iPhone, Abbott Northwestern Hospital enhances bedside patient care

Leading Minneapolis hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program improves efficiency and accuracy of program for training in innovative use of bedside ultrasound exams

Overview

  • Tracking the progress of physicians being trained in bedside ultrasound is critical to ensure accurate diagnosis and quality patient care. Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s IMBUS Program has streamlined this process, improving the accuracy and efficiency of the training process with a custom solution created using the FileMaker Platform.

Industry

  • Healthcare

Solutions

  • Used custom solution created with the FileMaker Platform to record results from bedside ultrasound exams to determine if physicians and trainees have met program requirements to be properly credentialed in use of the technology.

Benefits

  • Ensures that physicians are trained, evaluated, and credentialed in the most rigorous fashion possible; records bedside ultrasound exam results in real time; paves the way for introducing a vital new examination tool into general practice for improved patient care.
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Doctors at Abbot Northwestern Hospital augment portable ultrasound exams with data gathered with FileMaker Go for iPhone.

Focused bedside ultrasound scanning, performed by a physician, is quickly becoming an essential tool for the efficient diagnosis and treatment of patients within leading-edge hospitals. But it first takes formal training to become certified to perform a scan. To assist in this rigorous process, the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis turned to the FileMaker Platform and FileMaker Go for iPhone.

Dr. David Tierney, director of the Internal Medicine Bedside Ultrasound (IMBUS) program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, and assistant program director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program explains, “Portable ultrasound is an exciting diagnostic tool for our healthcare team that provides an instant understanding of the patient’s anatomy, physiology, and the issues at hand. To help rigorously track physicians as they become proficient and credentialed in using portable ultrasound, we employ an innovative solution built with help from FileMaker Developer Tim Cimbura using the FileMaker Platform.”

We considered Microsoft Access and a set of Excel spreadsheets, but that approach was not nearly as intuitive or scalable,” says Tierney. “FileMaker offered very easy integration with iPhone. Also, we previously had good experience with FileMaker for our physical exam database in the residency program. Based on that success, we felt FileMaker was the best choice for IMBUS.

— Dr. David Tierney, director of IMBUS Program,
Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program

A new way to diagnose patients

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Resident physicians learn how to perform ultrasound exams. Ultrasound images are later detailed within the IMBUS database accessed by FileMaker Go for iPhone.

Portable ultrasound devices are increasingly used to examine patients, diagnose problems and guide invasive procedures. FileMaker and a FileMaker Go solution for iPhone help ensure that as the hospital embarks on the leading edge of this movement, it is training, evaluating and credentialing physicians in the most rigorous fashion possible.

Unlike earlier machines, which are the size of an ATM on wheels, today’s ultrasound devices are a portable tool that can easily be carried over the shoulder or even in a shirt pocket. The technology improves bedside diagnostic accuracy and efficiency. And, in contrast to the CT scan, x-ray or other imaging tests that expose patients to radiation, portable ultrasound does not have any harmful bio-effects.

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The IMBUS program replaced its previous index card based system with FileMaker Go for iPhone.

A more efficient and accurate way to train physicians

Launched in 2011, the IMBUS program tracks how many ultrasound studies an internal medicine physician completes, and the accuracy of the studies performed before he or she is certified to perform the exam independently.

Initially, the program used a system of 5 x 7 index cards that physicians carried with them. For each exam, the physician recorded the date, time and observations made during the exam regarding heart function, organ size, lung abnormalities and other examined components. The cards were then manually assembled and tracked. If the cards were forgotten, the information from the day’s studies was sometimes not recorded.

Now, physicians simply use the FileMaker Go for iPhone app to access an IMBUS tracking application hosted by FileMaker Server software. Because most of the hospital’s physicians also use iPhone as a pager, it is always handy. And with a few taps, they can record the results of each exam, which are sent wirelessly to the FileMaker Server via Abbott Northwestern’s campus-wide network.

“We considered Microsoft Access and a set of Excel spreadsheets, but that approach was not nearly as intuitive or scalable,” says Tierney. “FileMaker offered very easy integration with the iPhone. Also, we previously had good experience with FileMaker for our physical exam database in the residency program. Based on that success, we felt FileMaker was the best choice for IMBUS.”

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In just a few taps on the iPhone, a physician can quickly add details about image taken by the portable ultrasound device.

Enabling real-time tracking of ultrasound studies

The FileMaker solution has transformed IMBUS training. In addition to the exam results from physicians’ iPhones, images from the portable ultrasound machines are sent wirelessly to the same server where they can be correlated with the FileMaker database. The FileMaker database assembles totals for each type of exam performed by the physician, as well as a repository of specific exam findings for teaching purposes.

From the FileMaker solution, trainers can analyze whether the bedside ultrasound findings match formal imaging studies that are conducted independently. Most important, trainers can evaluate a trainee’s experience and accuracy for each type of ultrasound exam. In addition, physicians can track their own progress using the FileMaker Go app on iPhone.

“The mobile component is essential as it allows physicians to enter the ultrasound record at the time of the exam,” asserts Tierney. “It’s critical to ensuring that studies are entered reliably and immediately. FileMaker is a very robust platform that accommodated everything we needed. And it still leaves plenty of room for future enhancements.”

Ultimately, the greatest value of Abbott Northwestern’s IMBUS program is the daily impact it’s having on patient care. By providing real-time visualization right at the patient’s bedside, portable ultrasound is a powerful tool for diagnosis, efficient treatment, and an excellent way to advance the overall quality of the traditional physical exam.

Says Tierney, “In the end, it is all about taking the best possible care of patients using the tools we have available. If ultrasound can fit in our little black bag, it is wrong for it not to be there. FileMaker is helping us make bedside ultrasound part of our standard tool set.”

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Client:

David Tierney, MD FACP
Abbott Northwestern Hospital
Assistant Program Director - Residency
Director - Bedside Ultrasound Program (IMBUS)
Director - Center for Clinical Simulation
Office: 612-863-9643
david.tierney@allina.com

For Developer:

Tim Cimbura
Cimbura.com, Inc.
Minneapolis, MN
763-355-5243
tim@cimbura.com
www.cimbura.com/tech/

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