Praesto FAQs

Common questions about the pre-clinical software

Implementation of a Pre-Clinical Electronic Record

The pre-clinical electronic medical record is the inevitable next step in the continued progress of research. Transitioning to the pre-clinical electronic medical record may be the most important project that a laboratory undertakes. A successful electronic medical records project has the potential to significantly improve administrative efficiency while complying with Food and Drug Administration Good Laboratory Practice guidelines as well as the International Standards Organization.

1. What is Praestro?
Praesto pre-clinical electronic record is software that allows you to create, store, edit, and retrieve records on a computer. A successful project allows a laboratory to replace its paper charts with electronic charts. This offers tremendous productivity and efficiency benefits to a laboratory. By storing all the data you previously recorded in the laboratory’s paper records, a pre-clinical electronic record replaces the racks of chart folders with a computer.
2. What benefits should one expect from implementation of a pre-clincial electronic record?
We believe a pre-clinical electronic record is one of the best business investments that a laboratory can make. With benefits including:
Revenue enhancement. A pre-clinical electronic record can impact the top line of a practice by improving the accuracy of procedure coding, increasing the number of services offered, and increasing the number of procedures performed per day.
Improved laboratory efficiency, animal care, and service. The pre-clinical electronic record itself includes a number of features that allow the managerial side of the practice to operate more efficiently.
Higher quality documentation (legible, organized, complete). A pre-clinical electronic record system helps standardize chart quality across a practice, minimizing problems that result from poor handwriting or inconsistencies in documentation.
Improved compliance with signing off on records. Paper-based systems require the physical presence of charts for signing. With a pre-clinical electronic record system, all unsigned components, whether progress notes or lab results, can be signed electronically from any workstation. This allows expedited review at times and locations that are convenient to the study director. The system can provide the administrator with reports on all unsigned notes—an excellent tool for quality assurance.
Fewer chart pulling and less filing. A primary attraction of the pre-clinical electronic record system is the decrease in the study record pulls and filing required to keep records current. For practices that successfully transition to the electronic system, each networked workstation is the record storage, accessible to anyone with network privileges. With electronic interfaces from such external sources as laboratories, incoming data can be downloaded directly into the record, eliminating the time-consuming and staff-intensive transcription required with paper-based records.
Improved inter-intra office communication. The pre-clinical electronic record system offers facilitates the numerous daily phone tasks that require information from the study records. Because the electronic system offers instant access to records, administrative and clinical staff can answer questions faster, thus improving customer service.
Easier compliance with study requests and audits. To accommodate the requests for copies of study records with paper systems, staff must pull, disassemble, copy, and reassemble the study documents. This time-consuming process can be eliminated with an electronic system, since the entire study can be printed from any networked PC. Complying with chart auditors is simply a matter of sitting them down in front of an available PC, since each workstation is the chart rack. And since a pre-clinical electronic record results in better documentation and better organization of the chart, laboratories typically pass audits easily.
3. What is the typical pre-clinical electronic record system configuration?
The most common organization of an system is to have PCs in the pre-op area, operating room, post-op area, main office, quality assurance office, and accounting. These are networked together and linked to a common server. This configuration gives both administrative and clinical staff easy access to workstations and the pre-clinical record.
4. How much interaction does laboratory staff actually have with the pre-clinical electronic record system, and how much keyboard and data entry activity is required?
Once the pre-clinical electronic record system is established in the lab, it becomes the focal point of all documentation and will be the most commonly used computer application by the staff during their normal workday. The amount of keyboard and data entry activity required is variable according to the activity. At a minimum, staff will be required to directly use the computer to open and view records and to enter data. In both cases, only basic computer or typing skills are required.
5. How secure is Praesto?
System security is ensured by network access limitations and system access levels once individuals are logged on. This electronic record offers highly granular security, allowing system administrators to assign access and privileges according to the respective roles of the staff.
6. Is the record keeping legally valid?
The pre-clinical electronic is compliant with 21 CFR Part 11 governmental regulations because of the features including an audit trail, allowing practices to track all changes to the data. This ensures document integrity within the organization and validates the record for legal purposes.
7. What happens if the system goes down? What do I use for backup?
A standard part of any electronic record system installation is system backup. This involves copying the data to a server that is operated offsite. In the event there is a system downtime that results in loss of data, data can be restored from remote server.

Making the Project a Success

Defining the goals of a pre-clinical electronic record system implementation and preparing a plan to achieve the goals are critical to the success of the project.

1. What is the appropriate method of measuring the success of implementation?
The success of implementing Praestro is directly correlated to the ability of a lab to effectively transition the majority of their documentation from paper-based systems to electronic systems while still maintaining productivity. The least efficient means of deploying an electronic record system is to run dual systems; simultaneous maintenance of an electronic record and a paper chart. Dual systems actually require additional labor, since two separate charts must be maintained.
2. How do I go paperless?
Going paperless is a step-by-step process that involves the following elements:
Utilizing the pre-clinical electronic record system as the primary means of laboratory documentation. Customers, projects, vendors, animal identifiers, procedures, and study data should be directly typed into the electronic record.
Establishing interfaces (particularly lab). Interfaces allow information from either clinical or administrative sources to be loaded directly into the electronic medical record. This eliminates the need for manual entry of these values.
Using clinical tools that support a paperless environment. For instance, blood gas analyzers are available that can display, store, and calculate values and transmit values to the electronic record. This eliminates the need for scanning or storing paper readouts and provides universal access to historical data.
3. How do I build support from the staff in the laboratory who are reluctant to use an pre-clinical electronic record system?
We believe that the best way to increase acceptance among staff is to minimize the amount of change required in daily workflow patterns. Laboratory training using the pre-clinical electronic record is important to facilitate the adoption of the electronic system into the workflow.

Preparing Your Organization for Electronic Records

There are many things that can be done before one decides to implement an pre-clinical electronic record. Both lab director and the staff must be prepared for the transition to a new system. The following are a few steps you can take to help assure your organization of the smoothest possible transition to the electronic system.

1. What will I need to purchase?
In deploying a pre-clinical electronic record system involves acquring the following items:
Software. In addition to the Praestro software you will need time synchronization software such as Domain Time II that will configure your computers to a uniform date and time.
Hardware and networks. An electronic record requires a network of PCs that communicate with each other. The network consists of the individual PC workstations; a server, which is the main computer for storing patient data and allowing communication between the PCs; the operating systems, such as Novell or Windows XP necessary to run the network; and the various hubs, network cards, and wiring that connect everything together.
Services. An pre-clinical electronic record represents a capital improvement project that will require the assistance of experts. Most electronic record system require implementation and training services, consisting of project planning, customization, and education on the application to prepare for the new software. These services are offered by the Hibernicor. In addition, hardware and network services are required to ensure the successful deployment of the network.
Support. You will need to maintain technical support contracts for both hardware and software. Technical support for software is sold and renewed on an annual basis. For Hibernicor, the support contract provides technical experts available 24/7 — and software updates, which are new versions of the software that provide improved performance and additional features.
2. How long does it take from signing the contracts to going live with the pre-clinical electronic record?
The project is a cooperative effort between the software and hardware vendors and the practice. It requires the completion of the following tasks:

  • Mobilization of laboratory and administrative staff
  • Acquisition and installation of hardware and network
  • Configuration of the electronic record to meet the individual practice’s needs
  • Completion of special interface projects
  • On-site training

The amount of time required will vary depending on the application, the size of the practice, and the quality of the project management by both the vendor and the practice. Laboratories typically deployed within 12 weeks, depending on the size of the installation.

3. How does the pre-clinical electronic record system interact with my billing and scheduling products?
If your laboratory currently has an existing billing and accounting functionality that is satisfactory, the electronic record system will function side by side with these applications. Ideally, an interface will be established between the existing accounting software and the system for data transfer.
4. What organizational leadership is required to make it successful?
For a project to be successful, leadership is required. For a large laboratory, this typically requires a director who can effectively communicate the goals of the project and be a liaison for technical or user issues.
5. What additional staff is needed to support the pre-clinical electronic record system?
You do not need to make additions to your staff to support the system, but it is necessary to allocate the responsibility for security administration. An electronic record system requires routine maintenance, backups, and someone to troubleshoot basic problems as they occur. These tasks will ensure the smooth running of the electronic record on a daily basis.