A new software system, called CoagClinic, is helping hospitals manage their patients on anticoagulation therapy.
Ultimately, Wirth's search led her to Standing Stone Inc., a Westport, Conn.-based company that has developed computer software that automates anticoagulation data. Dubbed CoagClinic, the software is used by more than 400 hospitals and clinics nationwide to better manage patients and anticoagulation therapy. Standing Stone's software is one of several on the market that helps hospitals better manage anticoagulation therapy. Other similar programs include CoagCare, developed by ZyCare Inc., of Chapel Hill, N.C., and DoseResponse, developed by Keystone Therapeutics Inc. of Pittsburgh.
CoagClinic is "a tracking program," said Lester Demaree, senior director of business development for Standing Stone. "The software also has a whole host of reports that can be created and these reports can be generated for use as a patient handout or for follow-up visits. A lot of these clinics are managing blood test results for thousands of patients, and these patients have their blood tested 12 to 15 times a year."
"Tracking patients and making sure they come in for their INR is a lot of work. You need to have a good tool in order to do that," Wirth said. "We are supposed to print out a list of drugs and give it to the patient so he knows exactly what he is taking. Without the software, it would be impossible for clinicians to do medication reconciliation for each patient."
Since implementing the CoagClinic program, Emory HealthCare's anticoagulation clinics have grown to encompass seven sites and treat 2,500 patients. "The best part about any software tool when you are administering anticoagulation therapy is tracking patients and not letting them fall through the cracks," Wirth noted.
Patients no longer fall through the cracks at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, Calif., where Standing Stone's software has helped the facility streamline its scheduling process for the 1,275 patients on anticoagulation therapy. Since implementing the software program in October 2005, the number of new anticoagulation cases at Hoag Hospital has tripled.
"We don't have to go to different sites anymore to get the information we need," said Marilyn Chalberg, an R.N. for the hospital's anticoagulation clinic. "We can look at a schedule for an entire month."
Besides helping hospitals better manage their anticoagulation therapy programs, CoagClinic gives healthcare institutions a way to meet a 2008 National Patient Safety Goal handed down by the Joint Commission last summer. That goal requires hospitals and/or clinics that provide anticoagulation therapy to "reduce the likelihood of harm associated with the use of anticoagulation therapy."
"Since requirement 3E applies to both outpatient and inpatient environments, compliance will require cooperation across many hospital departments," said Mark W. Wurster, M.D., FACP, and clinical assistant professor of internal medicine at Ohio State University. "At OSU we have already determined that an electronic clinical decision support system will be necessary to meet [the National Patient Safety Goal] within the stated timeframe. CoagClinc software combines integration of point-of-service testing with computerized decision support and seamless data transfer via HL7 to and from existing hospital systems."
THE AUTHOR is a writer based in New Jersey.