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ORAU Collaborates with Axion Health to Design Electronic Medical Records System for Argonne National Laboratory

Occupational HealthLink (OHL) provides medical informatics services in a highly secure, web-based environment that eliminates the medical monitoring maze and replaces it with an easy to use expert system.

Established in 1946 and with about 2,900 current employees, Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) has an extensive and broad past that has resulted in medical information/histories for many thousands of former and current workers, all recorded and managed on paper. But the fields of medical examination, analysis, diagnosis, consultation, and recommendation push the limits of traditional paper-based practices.

Argonne required a sophisticated, flexible platform for managing and processing all required medical information.

Noting the successful use of information technology in the ORAU-managed National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP)—which features a paperless workflow system for the medical data gathered during the screenings of former U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) workers—ORAU approached Argonne with a solution.

The answer that ORAU and its NSSP partner, Axion Health, developed for Argonne supports a tablet PC-based interface that enables clinicians to enter worker information and examination data directly into the system, eliminating the need for data entry or for the worker to answer the same question on multiple forms.

The database component of the system integrates with Argonne’s existing information technology systems to support data exchanges and analyses. The user interfaces include Axion SmartForms© to facilitate error-free data entry and automated alerts and notifications so that stakeholders are informed of upcoming exams, urgent findings and actions required, as appropriate.

“The ORAH-Axion team began implementation of the Argonne program last year, and version 1 of the application is on track to ‘go live’ to the entire worker population in March of 2009,” said Dr. Donna Cragle, director of ORAU’s Occupational Exposure and Worker Health programs. “Development and planning for version 2 is in process and scheduled to be implemented later this year.”

The ORAU-Axion program ensures timely and accurate management of current worker medical exams and job readiness compliance. It links employees' medical results and job hazards to occupational health care providers and program management, and enables Argonne to eliminate certain paper-based systems. This, in turn, significantly reduces administrative and personnel time.

"This project is an excellent example of building on the resounding success of the NSSP infrastructure to create additional innovative services to benefit the DOE community," said Dr. Cragle.