Protocols, critical pathways, and clinical guidelines are sets of conditions, actions and rules that set guidelines for the delivery of health care. When presented at the time of treatment, protocols can greatly improve the quality and cost effectiveness of health care. Current protocol software is not flexible enough to be used in diverse health care settings and does not work effectively with existing medical software. CK Software, Inc. (CKSI) has designed a prototype of protocol software with the features and flexibility to meet the rapidly changing needs of the health care industry. An innovator in the solution of health care software design problems, CKSI received a Phase I SBIR grant to research the needs of the industry and the design requirements for protocol software to function as an effective tool for physicians, staff, managers, and payors. CKSI's prototype "Protocol Engine" has the following features: CKSI is applying for a Phase II SBIR grant to complete the development of the protocol engine, set it up in one or more clinics, and fully integrate it with a wide range of different data sources. Changes in technology since the project began, specifically the rapid growth of the Internet and Web technologies, have opened up a new, viable, and exciting platform for the protocol engine. Developing it for the web environment will produce an application which can be accessed by virtually any type of computer system that is running a Web browser such as Netscape. Hardware, location, and access to a high speed network connection are no longer limiting factors. CKSI is combining its protocol design expertise with specialists in system integration and Web design from Med-Recall, a health care systems integrator. Our package will:
  1. Empower health networks and managed care organizations to set uniform standards of care and have them monitored and applied at all offices in their group.
  2. Decrease liability by providing access to all patient records, regardless of the location where they are physically filed.
  3. Be cost effective by working with data and software already in place.
With our complementary skills designing, developing, and integrating health care systems, CKSI and MedRecall are uniquely qualified to deploy and integrate a fully functional Protocol Engine in working clinics. This implementation will demonstrate the viability of our products as a commercial application that will be a valuable tool for health care clinics, insurance groups and other health software vendors.

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