UCLA Medical Center shreds hospital paper chase with mobile, wireless access to comprehensive patient data

Real-Time Medicine Via PDA and Smart Phone Improves Care, Cuts Costs

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 25, 2005 -- UCLA Medical Center is piloting a mobile, wireless patient information retrieval system that gives physicians instant access from throughout the hospital and around the world to real-time patient data via wireless Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and cellular smart phones. The Global Care Quest system, or GCQ, is intended to improve access to patient data, save health care workers time, trim the cost of care and tighten patient safety standards.

At UCLA, GCQ integrates with digital medical records, bedside charting and laboratory results, to create the most comprehensive digital medical data storage and retrieval system of its kind. This state-of-the-art software solution advances existing technology by offering -- for the first time -- PDA and cellular smart phone access to real-time data from bedside ICU monitors, as well as X-ray and CT/MRI scan imaging studies. Physicians can access medical data throughout the medical center via the hospital's wireless network (Wi-Fi or 802.11b), and remotely, outside the hospital, through high-speed cellular network connections (1xRTT, EV-DO, EDGE).

"With functions far beyond pagers and voice-only cell phones, this represents the next generation of wireless medical communication. In the future, we see every physician carrying a personal wireless information device that provides real-time access to complete patient data. These tools hold the promise to improve the quality and safety of patient care, avoid medical errors, and enhance cost-effectiveness. By using GCQ to automate routine and cumbersome paperwork, physicians and other healthcare workers will save time so that they can concentrate on taking care of patients," said Dr. Neil Martin, professor and chief of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and co-developer of the GCQ system.

"I see this technology as evolving into a seamless integration of information technology and increasing volumes of patient data. Some day patients themselves will be able to access their own records and share them with their different healthcare providers," said Dr. Albin Gritsch, associate professor of urology and surgical director of the kidney transplant program at UCLA.

"As intensivists, we need to deliver right care, right away," said Dr. Paul Vespa, associate clinical professor and director of neurocritical care at UCLA. "Given the shortage of intensivists, technologies such as GCQ are invaluable in extending the reach of our care by allowing us to respond instantly to emergencies from any location 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

The GCQ system integrates with hospital and clinical information systems through wireless networks accessible on both Palm OS and Pocket PC (Windows Mobile) devices, as well as standard MS Windows-based desktop and Tablet computers. Patient privacy is protected through use of authentication codes and data encryption that meets standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Researchers in the UCLA Division of Neurosurgery's Brain Monitoring and Modeling Lab developed the GCQ system under the direction of Valeriy Nenov, professor of neurosurgery, and Farzad Buxey, senior software developer.

Global Care Quest Inc. is a privately held medical software company based in Los Angeles that has recently been funded by Lexington Ventures. As inventors and developers of this technology, Martin, Nenov and Buxey are founders and equity holders in the firm. The company has plans to commercialize the technology through a license agreement with UCLA. More information is available online at

UCLA Medical Center Computing Services and Health Information Technology Services developed the digital medical record storage system. CliniComp International's bedside charting system and the GE Medical Systems PACS picture archiving system help complete the data package. An order entry system developed at UCLA is expected to be operational later this year.

Physicians in the UCLA Departments of Anesthesiology, Medicine, Pediatrics, Surgery and Urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine are currently using Global Care Quest. In addition, several major hospitals in the United States and Australia are considering GCQ installations.

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