Health IT

A search engine tool for EHRs aims to speed up information retrieval and ease physician frustration

health IT surgeon computerA health IT startup has identified what it sees as a major pet peeve of doctors using electronic health records: not being able to locate information they need fast enough. It’s launching its search engine tool to a wider market of academic medical centers and community hospitals, according to a company statement.

QPID, appropriately named for Valentine’s Day, stands for Queriable Patient Inference Dossier. It’s a search engine and intelligence tool to help prescreen and manage patients. It was developed in 2007 by Dr. Michael Zalis, a radiologist at Massachusetts General and chief medical officer for the company, and Dr. Mitch Harris, chief scientific officer within Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners HealthCare in Boston.

The concept sprung from the frustration of interpreting scans and not having an easy way to summon relevant patient information efficiently. It’s a particularly frustrating problem for radiologists, Zalis explained in an interview in 2010, because they tend to encounter patients without prior familiarity with their clinical situation.

Physicians receive a summary of clinical insights including treatments received, current and past medications, who else has touched the patient and other vital details prior to their first patient encounter, according to the statement


For instance in radiology, it can generate patient specific abstracts tailored toward a radiologist’s needs to improve and speed up interpretation of imaging exams.

It’s also been used to prescreen patients scheduled for an MRI and alerts healthcare providers to possible contraindications improving safety — such as if they have had a gunshot wound in the past that may have left fragments behind.

It functions in read-only mode and is system-agnostic, according to Mike Doyle, the CEO.

QPID is being used by 5,000 healthcare professionals in 15 different clinical departments at multiple hospitals in the Partners System such as Mass General, Brigham-Women’s Hospital and Wellesley Hospital.  It has venture backing from Matrix Partners, Partners Innovation Fund and Mass General Physicians Organization.

Doyle told MedCity News in a phone interview that the search tool is currently paid for by each department of the various hospitals in the Partners HealthCare system and that’s how it will go forward. When there’s more data, it would like to switch to a per-click or per-patient system, but it will only do that when it can be priced correctly based on usage.

As electronic medical record adoption becomes more widespread in line with the requirements of the HITECH Act, companies are developing adjunct tools to help clinicians use them in the context of work. But some have expressed frustration with the speed of EMRs to generate the information they need because of the design or other reasons.

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