AMDIS Award winner Margaret Quinn, M.D., stands out as chief medical information officer of three-hospital Meridian Health System in Neptune, N.J.--and not just because she is a woman in the male-dominated world of medical informatics.
Quinn truly is a pioneer in computerized physician order entry, having led Meridian's development and implementation of the technology since 1988. Today, 38% of all orders at Meridian hospitals--including 60% of orders at the flagship Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune--are entered electronically.
This spring, Quinn capped a multiyear search for a mobile IT system by launching the deployment of MData Enterprise System software, a product of MercuryMD, Durham, N.C., on handheld personal digital assistants.
"We had looked at a number of options over the years and never found anything that integrated properly with our existing systems," Quinn says. But clinicians, technologists and administrators alike quickly embraced MData, which delivers patient data to PDAs from a number of in-house computer systems.
"They love it," Quinn says.
The medical staffs at Jersey Shore and at Medical Center of Ocean County, Brick, N.J., are using the PDA software. Through May, the nascent handheld project had 75 active users and 10 more clinicians preparing to participate, Quinn says.
Soon, Quinn's staff will expand the data set available on PDA to include medication lists, vital signs, radiology, pathology and laboratory reports and patient demographics. "We've volunteered to pilot any order" for MercuryMD as the software vendor continues developing its product, Quinn says.
As the PDA rollout continues, Quinn will multitask, simultaneously spearheading the expansion of clinical decision support for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others who use CPOE and electronic medical records.
"We're moving past decision support just at the point of order and into giving alerts at other points in the care process," Quinn says.
Over the next 18 to 24 months, Meridian will upgrade an existing Siemens EMR to a Soarian clinical information system. This Siemens product will represent a big change for the 1,300 physicians affiliated with Meridian hospitals, she says, because Soarian's Web-based architecture gives users access from any computer with an Internet connection.
As usual, Quinn gladly will take the lead in this latest patient safety initiative.
Quinn is an avid skier and sailor, but "my husband says my hobby is CPOE."