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Selecting a new computer system

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Need your help... We are currently trying to decide between Mysis (lab and Transfusion Services), Soft (lab and Transfusion Services), Cerner (lab and Transfusion Services) and Mediware (Transfusion Services only). Can anyone give me feedback on any of these systems?? Of course I am most interested in the Transfusion Services piece. I will take your feedback to those individuals that are making the decision.

Thanks

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We have been a Misys lab with the Blood Bank transfusion module since 1990. We are currently evaluating other Blood Bank computer systems for the Blood Bank. We have looked at Mediware HCLL and McKesson Horizon (Wyndgate). We hope to make our decision in the next few months. I sent you an e-mail with more information. Please e-mail me if you want to discuss further. Perhaps we can compare notes.

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Our entire lab including blood bank has been live on Misys since April 2003. Prior to that the lab used McKesson Advantage and the blood bank used Western Star. Using Misys and using only 1 system has been a huge improvement for all of us and especially for all the folks that are cross-trained. I would be glad to answer any questions about Misys that you might have.

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I have worked with both Cerner and Misys systems. Cerner integrated donor center with transfusion services pretty well. They were better at resolving transfusion service issues than donor center issues. The hospital I work at currently uses Misys for the entire lab. I have been pleased with their customer support--a big part of any system you choose.

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I've used them all and personally love SoftBank. It seems to be a bit keytroke-heavy, but it gets the job done with eXM.

But I'm only a user and don't have to maintain them or use them in other areas, such as Micro and AP. Sometimes a decision has to be made for the overall good of the lab, rather than one dept's preferences. Occasionally, the IS requirements drives the decision-making.

You won't find one system that everyone likes ...

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Have used several computer programs over the years and most were ok, but for the Blood Bank portion, I preferred Mysis (Sunquest) over all others. It, apart from all other systems seemed to have been programmed by individuals who understand the flow of blood bank and the integration of information better than any other system. Naturally, Mysis has its caveats and I've used other systems that are nearly as good.

I would suggest strongly however, that you steer away from Cerner millennium...Cerner classic is ok, but my experience though limited with millennium as been anything but good. Also the support is disappointing. Cerner has gotten great press, and some like it probably because it has a "windows feel" (sexy!) but the endless menus, pull-downs, inflexible options on result entry and the gray look of everything (plus the icons that mostly all look alike regardless of magnification) all increase result entry time and aggravation.

It's basically a spreadsheet program (like excel) converted into a LIS. If your staff can't memorize a list of codes, millennium is for you, but then, using codes is much faster and requires fewer open windows.

Hope you can find some folks at other facilities close to you who are willing to chat on the particulars. :pcproblem

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We are currently implementing HCLL to replace our Hemocare system...

If I was to make the decision again - I would select the same vendor (Mediware).

One thing to consider is if the new BB-LIS uses a SQL database. This will allow for more robust reporting and versitile use of your data... without having to master a proprietary database format. Your IT department will appreciate this.

Another big issue is - having your data accessible in the event of a downtime. We found that Misys Blood Bank could not provide downtime data in an acceptable format... HCLL mirrors essential patient information to a desktop PC (called the APBC) which allows techs to access the data VERY easily in the event of a downtime. Your techs will appreciate this.

I also caught wind that Misys Blood Bank had an FDA recall - you might want to research this a bit more...

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We are currently implementing HCLL to replace our Hemocare system...

If I was to make the decision again - I would select the same vendor (Mediware).

One thing to consider is if the new BB-LIS uses a SQL database. This will allow for more robust reporting and versitile use of your data... without having to master a proprietary database format. Your IT department will appreciate this.

Another big issue is - having your data accessible in the event of a downtime. We found that Misys Blood Bank could not provide downtime data in an acceptable format... HCLL mirrors essential patient information to a desktop PC (called the APBC) which allows techs to access the data VERY easily in the event of a downtime. Your techs will appreciate this.

I also caught wind that Misys Blood Bank had an FDA recall - you might want to research this a bit more...

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You are correct about Misys not having a way to electronically mirror data for use during downtime. Both McKesson Horizon BB (Wyndgate) and SoftBankII also write patient data to a PC much the same as HCLL. A few of the features I would like to have that my current system (Misys) does not have are listed below.

1. The ability to inventory critical materials and track their use during testing and component preparation.

2. A feature to quickly emergency release blood prior to completion of compatability testing.

3. The ability to automatically shorten the expiration to 28 days when irradiating red cells with original expiration >28 days.

4. If a unit is returned > 30 minutes after issue, the system should either quarantine the unit or alert the user.

5. The ability to define security down to the test level as well as assigning security to be able to enter and verify/release results vs enter results but not verify/release.

6. The availability of online exception reports for supervisor review and documentation of any corrective action.

Be sure to investigate how well a system can interface with your LIS and/or HIS and talk to clients about system reliability, vendor support, and implementation time.

Misys did issue a Product Safety Notice recently. There was a problem with their new GUI v6.1. In batch entry mode, the data being entered could be out of sync with the accession number, patient and/or unit(s) displayed on the screen. I understand that a patch was issued to correct the defect.

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Hi Everyone:

I am new to posting but I hope you will have some patience. I am a former AMT (many years ago) and my experience spans about 40 years in the medical field. I have bought and sold computer/software systems during my career so I am somewhat knowledgeable of the pitfalls of selecting equipment and software.

I have read with great interest some of the upsides and downsides of various computer/software manufacturers and some of the frustrations that you all face. I thought the assessment of features by bmarotto was very perceptive and a good resoruce and helping individuals with the complex task of choosing a systems that you will probably have to use for at least 5-7 years.

For this reason I have compiled a generic, non-commerical power point that speaks to "A Buying Educational Guide" for buying equipment and software. If you would like a copy I would be more than happy to give you a copy (no charge) which hopefully will help all of you be better informed and ask the right questions. I guess I can be contacted via the Bllod Bank Talk and I would provide you with power point via e-mail, fax, or any other way to get this information to you - I am here to help if you wish. Carlos

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Just some comments about Sunquest (formerly Misys, formerly Sunquest)...

I have found that things that would seem to be something you would expect to be part of the system (like electronic xm and instrument interfaces) cost extra money per module.

They will not be completely ISBT128 compliant for some indefinite period of time. They cannot currently print ISBT128 labels. They cannot handle split or pooled products properly.

They do not have a user friendly QC package.

Reports are not very malleable, and I have to go through my IT people to customize anything. :star_half

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Sunquest (Misys) does not currently support the production of ISBT labels. And it does not appear that they're going to be able to do this for some time. If you modify products or make aliquots, and are on Sunqest, you have to purchase a stand alone system. That makes double data entry for your already busy staff.

The process to issue uncrossmatched blood on Sunquest is so time consuming, that we do it on paper and then enter in the computer after the fact.

The system for results recording of patient or unit antigen typing is really awful. The good people in Tucson actually suggested we record our reactions on paper and enter only interps in the system.

The data items that are automatically sent to the patient history file are hard coded. If you want to include something (like an Rh phenotype) that isn't on their list, you have to manually enter it.

We joke in our blood bank that Sunquest won't approve any modifications to the software until it's been through the maximum keystroke committe to build in as many gratuitous keystrokes as possible.

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I agree with the previous two posts. We have used Sunquest/Misys/Sunquest since 1990 and it never improved much over that period of time. Enhancements we considered important had been on the roadmap for many years and we were still waiting. Things like an automatic statement for corrected results had yet to be implemented. So, I fought hard to pull the plug and finally prevailed. The lab is staying with Sunquest but the Blood Bank is going live on Softbank next week. Changing systems after all these years is traumatic but we will be gaining so much more flexibility and functionality it will be worth it. The most cumbersone thing is not beng interfaced with the lab system (that was not my choice) but we came up with ways to get around it.

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I would recommend Cerner classic as well it was a fairly good transition from the old hemocare software and our seasoned blood bankers enjoyed the benefit of an integrated lab-blood bank solution. I am currently looking at Horizon-Wyndgate for integration into our Mckesson LIS product. Also, a factor for us has been multiple LIS projects that have delayed any additional lab installs of new software products. I have had to be very patient and we continue to do most reconciliation and inventory by paper hardcopies and disposition logs. Good luck.

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I would not touch a Cerner product with a stick. We have the millennium suite for the HIS and AP Labs and it is just horrible (in my opinion). The lab uses Sunquest and I am not all that thrilled with it (as I stated earlier) but in regards to the previous post on reports; Sunquest now uses Crystal Reports as the report writer, not their home rolled "Flexi-reports." You cannot find a more flexible and powerful report writing engine than Crystal. I think it is the best decision they have made in years.

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Is anyone using Soft Computer/SoftBank as an LIS? We are currently using Sunquest and it has it's own issues. We had a demo of Soft and most of the applications appear to be a GREAT improvement over our current system.

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We've had Sunquest here for about 9 years or so. We just converted to 6.3, which for Blood Bank was quite a change.

The Pros:

The system is hardly ever down

The reports are really good

6.3 system is much easier to use and train new staff

The Cons:

It does not allow for much flexibility; you can't adapt it to what you do at your Blood Bank...it is what it is

Serious glitches that they seem unwilling to change: see above posts, and also that there is no place for visual inspection at product entry.

QA warnings/failures appear excessively, leading to techs tending to "ignore" them.

Overall, it's a good system, but you do have to come up with some workarounds.

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We are a facility that has been with Cerner (in the lab only) for over 25 years. We started our transition to Millennium five years ago with the AP system and converted the rest of the laboratory, including Blood Bank, in February. I have been very pleased with all aspects of the Blood Bank module. As with any system, there are features that are great and there are portions that need some work. We started doing eXM when we converted and our use of gel cards has dropped tremendously with concurrent cost-savings. Cerner has gotten a lot of bad press over the years, some of it deserved, some of it not. We are remote hosted and have not been down since our go-live. To me, the best part of the Cerner HNAM is its extreme flexibility. You do not have to rework your processes to fit the system, the system can be modified to fit the way you do your processes. It takes time and effort, but in the end you have a system that you built to work the way you work.

Don't discount Cerner's flexibility. Other systems that we have reviewed just can't match it.

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We have been using SoftLab & SoftBank since September of 2006. We love it! Previously we had McKesson Star and Hemocare.

One of the best benefits about Soft is it is Windows based, so it is easier to navigate than some of the other systems. SoftBank is a little "keystroke" happy like someone else stated, but it flows very easy and each resulting menu works exactly the same way. One of the things that is extremely handy is the ability to "bridge" or link between SoftLab and SoftBank to view information without having to "sign-in" and "out" of multiple systems. As an example when you are working in SoftBank and need to view an H&H, with just a couple of clicks it links you to the result query function in Lab. Or if you need to add a test or order a test, with 2 clicks you are linked to the Order Entry function in Lab.

We really enjoy SoftLab and I have found it to be much user friendly than some other systems.

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We have Soft GUI and love it. It's very versatile - you can personalize it to fit your needs. We love the worksheet. You can also move from 1 function to another easily. We're currently working on an interface with the ECHO, so any hints with that would be welcome.

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Hi Everyone:

I am new to posting but I hope you will have some patience. I am a former AMT (many years ago) and my experience spans about 40 years in the medical field. I have bought and sold computer/software systems during my career so I am somewhat knowledgeable of the pitfalls of selecting equipment and software.

I have read with great interest some of the upsides and downsides of various computer/software manufacturers and some of the frustrations that you all face. I thought the assessment of features by bmarotto was very perceptive and a good resoruce and helping individuals with the complex task of choosing a systems that you will probably have to use for at least 5-7 years.

For this reason I have compiled a generic, non-commerical power point that speaks to "A Buying Educational Guide" for buying equipment and software. If you would like a copy I would be more than happy to give you a copy (no charge) which hopefully will help all of you be better informed and ask the right questions. I guess I can be contacted via the Bllod Bank Talk and I would provide you with power point via e-mail, fax, or any other way to get this information to you - I am here to help if you wish. Carlos

Hi Carlos,

I was wondering if you still had this Buying Educational Guide, as blood bank information systems can often be so difficult to navigate. Any help is much appreciated, thank you!

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We have also been with Cerner since 1988 and are currently using Cerner Millennium. I agree that it is flexable. Cerner Classic is no longer sold.

Also in Indiana....

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I would stay as far away from Cerner for Blood Banking a possible!!!

I hated Meditech when we first got it, but after awhile I've learned to adapt.

The reason I hated Meditech was because I was spoiled by Informedics (used to be Western Star, it may now have been merged with HemoCare).

Anything that is dedicated to Transfusion Service is going to be superior than an add-on module in a lab system.

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In my varied career, I have used Soft, Misys (Sunquest), Meditech, Cerner and others (?). I built the Blood Bank module for Cerner and it replaced our existing Misys. The replacement was a downgrade for us but overall I think Cerner was liked by other (non-Lab) people. I have used Soft before and liked it. I am currently using Meditech...and for the Blood Bank (I cannot speak for other departments) it is by far the worst system I have encountered...poor customer service, poor ability to upload history, poor method of antigen typing, and doing anything in the sytem requires changing multiple settings and having a PhD in computer sciences. It just doesn't have to be that difficult.

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I am partial to Cerner Millennium. I was a Classic user for years before converting to Millennium. Cerner has partnered Wyndgate El Dorado as a donor software solution to compliment PathNet Blood Bank Transfusion.

Although the ISBT 128 build was a big project, and I think it is for any system, I'm thrilled with the results. I especially love the interfaced HemaTrax software that generates product labels instantly for modified products.

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