ORLANDO, Fla. — Feb. 21, 2011 — Implementing a complete electronic health record (EHR) — and meeting the government’s criteria for using that technology in a “meaningful” way — are among the top IT priorities for healthcare CIOs and IT professionals as they congregate at the 21st annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference being held in Orlando, Fla., this week. According to the 2010 HIMSS Leadership Survey, 59 percent of healthcare CIOs say their organizations will invest in EHR systems in order to qualify for federal incentive payments designed to help the country achieve significant improvements in care.
David Cerino, general manager, Microsoft Health Solutions Group.
The vision behind the meaningful use of EHRs is an interoperable nationwide system of care that increases quality, safety and efficiency, improves care coordination, engages patients and their families in managing their health, enhances population and public health, and ensures adequate privacy and security.
These same goals have guided Microsoft’s investments in developing and delivering health solutions over the past five years. This week at HIMSS, the company will showcase new initiatives with prominent industry vendors, new product functionality, and real-world use cases of healthcare providers that demonstrate the power of interoperability to extend the value of EHRs and empower every participant in healthcare — physicians, nurses, radiologists, administrators, patients and others — to perform their responsibilities more easily and with greater effectiveness.
“Interoperability is at the core of everything Microsoft, our customers and partners are showing and discussing at HIMSS,” said David Cerino, general manager, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. “With connected, interoperable systems, we can enable the flow of data across the health system, giving caregivers the information and insight they need to do their jobs better and consumers what they need to better manage their health. We’re excited about the opportunity to share important news this week about our journey toward connected health, as well as to highlight how a wide range of provider organizations are using our products today to drive continuous improvement.”
Improving Patient Care With Integrated Solutions Within and Beyond the Hospital
Today at HIMSS, Microsoft announced new initiatives with health IT leaders that are designed to allow provider organizations to drive significant improvements in care by delivering a new level of interoperability within and beyond their hospital walls:
Philips Healthcare and Microsoft are collaborating to streamline the workflow of radiologists as they seek to build and understand the complete clinical context of a patient. By connecting Microsoft Amalga with Philips iSite PACS (picture archiving and communication system), the companies will give radiologists the ability to view a complete set of a patient’s data stored across the health enterprise — e.g., ADT data, lab data, pathology reports and medications — alongside the patient’s images stored in the iSite PACS system, with just a single click. The ability to view DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) and non-DICOM data in one place will reduce the time radiologists currently spend searching separate, disconnected information systems to build a comprehensive view of patient history and allow them to focus more time on case review, analysis and diagnostics.
Also announced today, Dell and Microsoft will collaborate with the intent to deliver an analytics, informatics, business intelligence (BI) and performance improvement solution designed specifically to meet the needs of community hospitals through an affordable, subscription-based business model. Delivered by Dell as a hosted online service, the solution will combine Microsoft Amalga with Dell’s cloud infrastructure and expertise in informatics, analytics and consulting. As a result, community hospitals will have access to targeted, focused views of consolidated patient data aggregated by the Amalga platform from source systems across the hospital, enabling organizational leaders, clinicians and physicians to rapidly gain insights into the administrative, clinical and financial data needed to make ongoing operational decisions.
On Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 7 a.m. EST, Microsoft will announce a strategic alliance focused on improving connectivity and communication among hospitals, physicians, patients and families. Using the power of cloud technology combined with Microsoft’s Amalga and HealthVault platforms, the solutions to be delivered are designed to enable better care coordination across outpatient and inpatient settings, which can help reduce unnecessary duplicative medical tests and procedures, improve care quality, and decrease healthcare costs.
“The industry collaboration we’re announcing this week underscores Microsoft’s commitment to providing a flexible analytics platform that provides critical insights for healthcare delivery organizations and makes it easier for them to act on those insights,” said Nate McLemore, general manager, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. “Industry leaders are not only taking advantage of Amalga to bring new types of data to users of their existing applications, but are also using Amalga as a platform to deliver new applications and services to providers and their patients.”
Showcasing New Products and Functionality at HIMSS
This week at HIMSS Microsoft is showing new products and functionality designed to improve care coordination and better engage patients and families in managing their health.
HealthVault Community Connect, now available, is being demonstrated in Microsoft’s booth throughout the conference. HealthVault Community Connect enables hospitals to give patients and referring physicians access to electronic copies of patients’ personal health data generated at the hospital, including visit summaries and discharge instructions. The product also lets patients pre-register for hospital appointments online using their electronic personal health information to populate hospital forms in advance.
In the Interoperability Showcase, Microsoft is demonstrating new encrypted e-mail functionality for HealthVault that allows clinicians to send messages to patients based on security protocols set forth by the Office of the National Coordinator’s (ONC’s) Direct Project. Through this offering, every HealthVault record will be able to automatically accept e-mail messages directly from healthcare providers. Initial partners include MedPlus and VisionShare Inc., which have integrated the new service with their solutions to help the physician community encrypt messages they send to patients and realize the financial incentives of achieving meaningful use. The three companies are demonstrating the capabilities of their solutions in the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase as part of the Office of the National Coordinator’s exhibit.
Last week Microsoft rolled out a number of new features for HealthVault designed to improve the user sign-up and engagement experience. In addition to simplifying the HealthVault sign-up process to just one page, Microsoft introduced a new Getting Started Wizard that identifies the HealthVault applications that may best serve the user’s needs and outlines the steps to get connected to those applications. Microsoft also introduced second-factor authentication from PhoneFactor to enhance security, as well as integrated Blue Button support to make it easier for veterans and Medicare beneficiaries to add copies of their health information to their HealthVault records. The HealthVault upgrade also features support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.
Healthcare Providers Share Experiences With Microsoft Solutions
In the booth theater, Microsoft will feature several executives of leading healthcare organizations discussing their experiences using Microsoft Amalga, HealthVault and HealthVault Community Connect to transform care delivery.
Brad Savage, CIO of Golden Living, will discuss how his organization uses Amalga in its efforts to improve care through better information sharing. For example, the use of Amalga in the Clinical Startup application enables Golden Living nurses to rapidly identify subtle changes in patient conditions and take the steps necessary to care for patients in skilled nursing facilities, helping to avoid costly hospital readmissions based on lack of timely information. Golden Living is a family of companies that specializes in recovery care, providing a network of post-acute healthcare services including rehabilitation, home care, assisted living, skilled nursing and hospice.
Representatives from Mason General Hospital (Shelton, Wash.), Brooks Rehabilitation (Jacksonville, Fla.), and PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center (Bellingham, Wash.) will speak about using HealthVault Community Connect to create a continuum of care across multiple healthcare settings, establish greater connections with referring physicians, improve the pre-registration and discharge processes, and create better experiences for patients.
Other healthcare providers presenting in the Microsoft booth at HIMSS include MedStar Health (Washington, D.C.) and St. Joseph Health System, an integrated healthcare delivery system spanning California, Texas and New Mexico. Microsoft’s booth is located in Hall B, No. 3103, in the Orange County Convention Center.