Accessing an Existing Virtual Electronic Patient Record with a Secure Wireles Architecture
Ana Ferreira (Center for Informatics at the Faculty of Medicine in Porto, Portugal), Luis Barreto (Instituto Politecnico de Viana do Castelo, Portugal), Pedro Brandao (LIACC at Faculty of Science in Porto, Portugal) and Ricardo Correia (Center for Informatics, Faculty of Medicine in Porto, Portugal)
Copyright: © 2009
Virtual electronic patient records (VEPR) enable the integration and sharing of healthcare information within large and heterogeneous organizations by aggregating known data elements about patients from different information systems in real-time. However, healthcare professionals need to access a terminal every time they treat a patient. This may not be trivial as computers are not available around every corner of big healthcare institutions. The use of wireless technology can improve and fasten healthcare treatment because it can bring information and decision to the point of care allowing also for healthcare professionals’ mobility. However, as healthcare information is of a very sensitive nature, it has to comply with important security requirements. The wireless technology makes it more difficult for these requirements to be achieved as it is harder to control disruptions and attempts to access information can be more common and less simple to detect. The main objective of this chapter is to model, develop and evaluate (e.g. in terms of efficiency, complexity, impact and against network attacks) a proposal for a secure wireless architecture in order to access a VEPR. This VEPR is being used within a university hospital by more than 1,000 doctors, on a daily basis. Its users would greatly benefit if this service would be extended to a wider part of the hospital and not only to their workstation, achieving this way faster and greater mobility in the treatment of their patients.
The Virtual Electronic Patient Record
With the objective to face one of the major problems within large and complex health organizations - data retrieval and integration - a VEPR was built within a University Hospital with over 1350 beds, by the Biostatistics and Medical Informatics Department, at the Faculty of Medicine in Porto. This system provides a cost-effective solution for most clinical information needs (Ricardo Cruz-Correia et al., 2005).
Currently, more than 1000 doctors use the system on a daily basis. Other healthcare professionals (namely nurses) are expected to start using it soon.