Up-to-the-Minute Medicine

The real-time reporting engine in Disease Manager Plus helps doctors manage care for patients with chronic illnesses.

Decades ago, Dr. Victor E. Pollak came to an important realization: For all the good they do, doctors fail miserably when it comes to organization. They keep inefficient, inadequate medical records that fail to show a patient's long-term history.

Consider how traditional records for a typical diabetic patient are arranged. The patient's blood sugar results are in one place, his latest insulin prescription is in another, and the nurses' notes are somewhere else.

"I came to the conclusion that I was unable to care for my patients, I was unable to teach medical students, and I was unable to do research on my patients. And I decided that the problem was with the medical records and that a new medical record was needed to solve those problems," says Pollak, a leader in the field of nephrology, which involves the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases.

That revelation came in the mid-1960s, prompting Pollak to start building a new way of keeping records on his patients' treatments, prognoses and progress.

Pollak's frustration and subsequent innovation eventually led to the creation of MIQS Inc. and its Disease Manager Plus software package, which delivers a new type of medical record for the care of patients with chronic diseases. The software brings together in real time all the formerly separate data points on each patient or patient group and presents them according to each doctor's individual preference.

"All the information about a patient needs to be accessible equally. Our major asset is how we organize the data on the back end. It gives the doctors what they want to see at the point of care in the way they want to see it," says MIQS President and CEO George F. Rovegno. "And we have pretty persuasive data that if you get the data at the bedside, the patient will do better."

MIQS, which primarily markets Disease Manager Plus for the care of dialysis patients and patients with kidney disease, was named a 2009 Computerworld Honors program honoree for its work on the software. And Disease Manager Plus itself has earned significant praise from medical professionals.

"There's nothing that comes close," says Dr. Jonathan Lorch, director of medical informatics at The Rogosin Institute, a treatment and research institution for kidney disease in New York.

Lorch, a nephrologist, started using Disease Manager Plus nearly 15 years ago while at a different New York clinic. "I wanted something that wasn't just a repository of data but rather something that would help us care for patients," he says, noting that dialysis patients experience a range of medical problems that must be managed.

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