Trends in ECG Management Systems
Basic ECG Management Software Functionality
Digital ECG management solutions display waveforms and other physiological data from patient monitoring systems and integrate them into the EMR or CVIS so a separate workstation or login is not necessary. These systems should help streamline documentation by enabling clinicians to electronically view measure, annotate and store reporting. Vendors offer various workflow improvements, including automated diagnostic text generating the report that can be altered in the final edit, automating movement to the next study, and automating sign, save and distribute functions. Other features include measuring callipers and the ability to display by rhythm or single beat, and comparison with prior studies.
While standard 12-lead ECG is the bread and butter of ECG assements and the core of ECG management system reporting, hospitals that use 15-lead paediatric ECG should make sure the systems can accommodate its reporting. With the rapidly expanding use of single lead cardiac monitors and consumer-grade ECG devices and apps, reporting systems that can accommodate capture and reporting for these devices might be a consideration.
When comparing ECG management software, one of the key pieces of advice to measure overall workflow efficiency is to count the number of clicks it takes to perform normal tasks. Hospitals also should make sure the system will be able to accept input from all ECG systems in their inventory. At health systems that have gone through consolidation with several hospitals, this often means each facility may have several legacy ECG systems from various vendors that need to have their data integrated.
For office-based practices and smaller clinics that do not require a standalone ECG management system, some vendors offer cloud ECG management service as an extension of their CVIS or picture archiving and communication system (PACS). This can help reduce the costs of implementing an ECG management system. An example of this is the ScImage PicomCloud. Providers can have access to a full-featured ECG management system, including storage, ECG editing tools and web access for primary care providers, using a low-cost fee per ECG.
Third-party Integration of ECG Mangement Systems
With interoperability demands from healthcare reform, all vendors have made greater efforts to integrate with other vendors’ systems. This includes eliminating proprietary coding and using open standards such as HL7 and DICOM.
Some ECG management system vendors have offered systems built on open standards to start with so they can easily integrate as a module into another vendor’s CVIS. Epiphany Healthcare is one vendor that has built its business as a third-party application provider offering integration with most ECG systems and CVIS. The vendor OEMs its Cardio Server software to several vendors, including IBM Watson Health, Fujifilm Synapse and Siemens syngo Dynamics. Cardio Server also interfaces to other third-party CVIS systems via API. It also sells its software as a standalone system.
Current Trends in Cardiology