21 Feb GE and Intermountain want to streamline nationwide patient data
GE Healthcare and Intermountain Health Care (IHC) have announced a plan to create a clinical software program that would accelerate the adoption of electronic health records among U.S. health-care providers.
The collaboration was announced at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting in Dallas last week. The companies hope to take the clinical knowledge that IHC has gathered over the years and integrate it with GE’s Centricity medical IT software products.
In a release, GE said that its Centricity software “will form the backbone of the envisioned digital healthcare solution as a complete package of workflow automation, clinical documentation, decision support, and quality assurance tools that makes the computer-based patient record a reality by integrating information from patient monitors, diagnostic imaging systems and other ancillary hospital information systems into a centralized clinical date repository.”
“[IHC has] been doing research on patient outcomes and embedding this knowledge into their own systems.” said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Information Technologies, in a teleconference with journalists. “Essentially, IHC has already accumulated the knowledge that GE has been interested in gaining to really advance the Centricity suite of applications.”
There are around 44,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States because of medical errors, which is one major target of the initiative, according to IHC Senior Vice President Greg Poulsen.
“President Bush recently called for U.S. citizens to have interoperable health records within the next decade,” Poulsen said. “However, without nationally accepted approaches and procedures in place, transferring patient information across healthcare systems and networks really isn’t feasible. But the clinical software programs that we’ll develop should serve as building blocks to enable integration of our country’s clinical IT systems, which will streamline healthcare costs and reduce medical errors and enhance the quality of patient care.”
As part of the deal, GE’s Centricity applications will be installed in IHC’s IT network, and IHC clinicians will begin to work with that system shortly, according to Wanchoo. Installations will continue for the next five years. “The system integrates all care information from every care area in the healthcare system, whether it’s from the emergency department, the intensive care unit, [or] clinics, and really provides a comprehensive electronic medical record with widespread accessibility,” Wanchoo said. “But most importantly it provides advanced advice and guidelines to the caregivers to ensure they have better patient outcomes.”
GE and IHC plan to create a living laboratory in Salt Lake City, where GE engineers will work with caregivers every day to build the new system.
“We intend to take this software, which will be integrating advanced knowledge from Intermountain Healthcare, and make that available across the U.S.,” Wanchoo said.
So what are the potential outcomes of the project?
“For one, we believe it will provide the foundation for a wide-reaching IT system to finally manage the explosion of data that is emerging throughout the healthcare industry,” Poulsen said. “Our work together has the potential to make universal information available at the point of care and at the time of decision-making, which we think is the time it really matters.”