– DrFirst announced a pending patent for AI technology today that breaks down the “prescription language barriers” between different EHRs – a crucial step in the process to avoid adverse drug events – solving a once intractable problem faced by hospitals.
– The new U.S. patented tech uses an advanced approach for applying AI to unstructured medical information to process free text into appropriate data fields of the EHRs, infer missing prescription elements based on context, and convert free text elements and the inferred information into whatever nomenclature the hospital uses.
DrFirst, a Rockville, MD-based provider of e-prescribing, patient medication management, and price transparency solutions announced that it will be awarded the second U.S. patent for its SmartSuite technology. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Notice of Allowance for a patent (application no. 14/972,209) is for SmartSig’s “method and system for intelligent completion of medical records based on big data analytics.”
Recent studies by Yale, JAMA, and PEW Charitable Trusts all point to shortcomings in EHRs that put patient safety at risk. The DrFirst patented process ameliorates the risks related to adverse drug interactions and allergies.
SmartSig’s Patent Pending AI-Based Technology
SmartSig is a key part of DrFirst’s SmartSuite solution that works in conjunction with hospitals’ electronic health records (EHRs) to improve the quality of patient medication histories, which clinicians use for medication reconciliation. Medication reconciliation is a critical patient safety process to avoid adverse drug events, recommended every time a patient has a transition of care, such as being admitted or discharged from a hospital. Accurate medication reconciliation is a National Patient Safety Goal of The Joint Commission.
DrFirst’s artificial intelligence solves three problems that have plagued medication histories in EHRs until now, all related to importing prescription instructions, called sigs. This information typically arrives as unstructured “free text,” often with missing pieces of information, and using a variety of synonyms for the same instructions (e.g., by mouth vs. orally).
3 Benefits of SmartSig’s AI-Based Technology
SmartSig’s AI can accurately address each of these issues, so the EHR can use its converted data to trigger critical safety checks, such as drug interaction or allergy alerts. DrFirst’s technology does this by:
1. Processing free text into appropriate data fields, so they are functional within the EHR system,
2. Inferring missing pieces of information based on context, and
3. Converting the free text elements and the inferred information into whatever nomenclature the hospital uses.
These technological advancements also reduce the need for clinicians to enter medication histories manually, which is error-prone and time-consuming. The time savings also may help reduce care team burnout, which can be worsened by technology challenges, according to a recent report by the National Academy of Medicine.
First used by a hospital system in October 2015, SmartSig now processes millions of pieces of information daily and serves hospitals across the U.S. and Canada. DrFirst is now releasing the next generation of SmartSig, which accurately translates 91 percent of incoming medication sigs and saves approximately 30 seconds of work for each medication. “This is a major advance that can help hospitals protect patients from adverse drug events,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “When everyone on the healthcare team has the information they need, precisely when they need it, patients can get the best care possible.”
King’s Daughters Reduces 30-Day Readmission Rates by 11% Using SmartSig
King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) in Brookhaven, Miss., worked with DrFirst to use its SmartSig technology to reduce gaps in medication history and streamline its medication reconciliation process.
“This solution has significantly contributed to increased patient safety and improved health outcomes,” said Joe Farr, BSN, RN, KDMC Clinical Applications Coordinator who managed the transition. “In the first seven months following the implementation of SmartSig, our overall 30-day readmission rates decreased by 11 percent.”