UPMC develops its first EHR application for BlackBerry smartphones


UPMC developed its first electronic health record (EHR) application for BlackBerry® smartphones. The pilot project gives physicians access to such information as a patient’s allergies, current medications and recently completed lab tests.

“More and more health care organizations are deploying wireless solutions based on the BlackBerry platform”

“We are looking for more effective ways to make patient information available at the point of care—and, increasingly, the point of care isn’t just in a hospital or doctor’s office,” said William Fera, M.D., vice president, medical technologies, and medical director, interoperability, at UPMC. “We need to get the right information to the right clinicians at the right time, whether they are at home ‘on call’ or in a variety of mobile health care situations.”

UPMC’s application for BlackBerry smartphones is enabled by the health system’s interoperability platform, created by technology partner dbMotion. The dbMotion™ Solution allows UPMC to present clinicians with a single, comprehensive view of key patient data, including allergies, medications, lab results, problems and physician notes, without replacing existing information systems. It also provides “semantic interoperability” to clinicians, which allows data to be transferred and organized in meaningful ways. For instance, if a patient’s records show allergies to penicillin under a variety of drug names, all of the penicillin allergies are appropriately grouped together in dbMotion’s presentation of the data.

“We chose the BlackBerry platform for this project because of the high degree of security and patient privacy safeguards that are possible with this smartphone,” said Dr. Fera. “We now expect to launch this application more broadly across our 20-hospital network, protecting patient information while improving care.”

Research In Motion Limited (RIM), designer and manufacturer of the BlackBerry® wireless platform, is one of UPMC’s strategic partners in the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM), a collaboration among innovators in health care, information technology and communications that showcases the patient-centered health care model developed at UPMC.

“More and more health care organizations are deploying wireless solutions based on the BlackBerry platform,” said Jeff McDowell, senior vice president, Business Segment Marketing and Alliances, Research In Motion. “UPMC’s solution is a great example of the technology being demonstrated at the CCM, and it illustrates how mobile technology can be integrated throughout the continuum of patient care to help address both the quality and cost issues facing the health care industry.”

UPMC has long been recognized as one of the health care industry’s technology leaders. It has been named for 11 consecutive years as one of the 100 Most Wired hospitals and health systems in the United States by Hospitals & Health Networks magazine and also was named among the top 10 most innovative users of technology among all companies by InformationWeek magazine.

Three of UPMC’s hospitals are among the nation’s most advanced users of comprehensive electronic medical records, according to HIMSS Analytics, part of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.