Sun to acquire five new customers with groundbreaking health care technology

Atlanta 29 January 2002An increasing number of health care organisations, from health plans to medical centres to health care professional organisations, choose Sun to power their network infrastructure. Offering such benefits as increased performance, scalability and security, Sun, with its technology partners, recently won a number of new customers, including several medical centres that vary in the number of sites and types of facilities. Sun's new customers include Health Alliance Plan, the American Hospital Association, Major Hospital, Riverside Regional Medical Center, and Peach Regional Medical Center.

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Sun has developed and implemented the latest in technology innovations in order to further its goal of connecting and network-enabling the health care industry. This is helping health care professionals reduce medical errors, contain health care costs and provide high-quality health care. Health Alliance Plan (HAP), one of Michigan's premier health plans, currently serves more than 3000 employer groups and more than 537.000 members, but plans to grow its membership by 100.000 and anticipates managing more than 900.000 members by the end of the year.

To help accommodate this growth, HAP turned to Sun to expand and enhance its claims processing solution. In replacing its legacy system, HAP selected Perot Systems' DIAMOND 950 system software to automate and streamline the operations of its claims processing system. HAP's criteria was a UNIX platform that could provide an enterprise-class server capable of delivering an open systems environment at the level of operational discipline and management which it had previously with the mainframe system.

HAP selected the Sun Enterprise 10000 server because it will allow HAP to bring its systems environment to the level of operational discipline it wants and provide a robust, scalable server. The Sun server also will grow with HAP and allow the health plan the opportunity to consolidate some of its other servers. Recently, HAP added an additional Sun Enterprise 10000 server to its claims processing system. The Sun Enterprise server is at the heart of HAP's business running the DIAMOND applications for its membership billing and claims processing.

HAP is also using Java technology for its Web-based applications and is in the process of migrating from NetDynamics to the iPlanet Application Server. With the new Sun solution in place, HAP has been able to consolidate 27 servers to 14 servers, therefore helping to reduce administrative costs. With Sun's open environment, HAP also is able to easily interface with other applications.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) will implement Sun's technology as the platform for a new portal for use by its members and others in the health care field. Built on the Sun Open Network Environment (Sun ONE) platform, the interactive Web site will provide information and resources to the AHA's 5000 member hospitals and will be accessible to the entire health care field. The portal will serve as a site that health care professionals can access to obtain critical data such as regulatory information, best practices, research, educational materials, and leadership tools.

Users also will be able to interact via chat rooms and will have access to technology applications for operational efficiencies and to available products and services through e-commerce applications. The AHA portal will leverage the broad spectrum of Sun's computing platform, including iPlanet Portal Server, iPlanet Application Server, iPlanet Directory Server, iPlanet Web Server, iPlanet Messaging Server, Sun Enterprise servers, and Sun StorEdge systems running the Solaris 8 Operating Environment.

Major Hospital, the most technologically advanced medical institution in the Midwest, located in Shelbyville, Indiana, boasts a completely electronic medical record with the recent addition of eHealthEngines PACS. Providing a full range of both inpatient and outpatient diagnostic imaging services to its community, including MRI, CT, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, and X-ray services, the hospital required a scalable, fully integrated digital radiology solution that could grow to a full PACS over an 18-month period.

To that end, eHealthEngines deployed PACS on the Sun platform. Five imaging modalities, both DICOM and non-DICOM compliant, are now linked to the eHealthEngines archive for digital storage, with plans to add Computed Radiography in the near future. As part of their day-to-day work flow, physicians can now access images alongside reports directly from their HIS, eliminating the need to access multiple systems for patient information.

Additionally, with a 24-hour diagnostic imaging department, radiologists can read emergency radiology cases from their homes, crucial in emergency situations, using eHealthEngines' OpenMed Viewer Web-based application. Major Hospital is also storing and archiving all images permanently, all on Sun hardware.

Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Virginia, a health network of four hospitals, found a way to improve patient outcomes and its bottom line after deploying a new point-of-care medical record system, called Frontiers, in the operating room and recovery rooms at its flagship hospital. The new system, developed by Virginia-based eko systems Inc., utilises Jini technology from Sun both on a device level and on an application level.

By utilising Jini in its JEM, eko has created a universal hardware component that dynamically configures itself with the physiological monitor to which it is currently connected. Jini technology is a core piece of the application. By incorporating Jini technology in Frontiers, the information collected through the JEM and entered by the clinician is sent to a mid-tier server and is ultimately warehoused in a database server reliably and in a fault-tolerant manner.

The hospital and the patients it treats are already seeing several benefits, including more accurate patient billings and lower administrative costs. Hospital staff can immediately access patient data, allowing them to review and analyse a large amount of patient data to determine which treatment plans have the best outcomes. With this information, the hospital can set hospital-wide treatment protocols, resulting in higher quality care. Riverside Regional Medical Center has signed on to an enterprise-wide project and expects to expand Frontiers to its three other hospitals.

Peach Regional Medical Center, a full-service hospital in Fort Valley, Georgia, was in desperate need of upgrading its existing outdated administration system and wanted a system that would be easy to use and serve the hospital's daily administrative tasks: registration, patient and hospital accounting, billing, medical records and materials management. The hospital turned to Creative Healthcare Systems (CHS) and Sun for a fully functional, cost-effective health information network.

CHS's MedGenix Health Information Network is a multi-tier e-health solution running on Sun's Solaris Operating Environment. MedGenix encompasses a variety of health information applications, from a master patient index and medical records to general ledger, payroll and patient accounting. By using Internet technology, the Sun and CHS solution enables Peach Regional Medical Center to store and share information from all health care providers in a central database. Users can easily gain access, 24 hours a day, to information such as immunisation history, long-term care, home health services, current medications and billing information, all via scalable architecture.

To reduce maintenance costs and redundancies at the desktop, Peach Regional Medical Center also selected Sun's Sun Ray information appliance. The Sun Ray appliance with its Hot Desk technology enables Peach Regional Medical Center staff to access critical patient information and move from room to room or between work spaces without logging out of patients' medical records. As a result, Peach Regional Medical Center can devote more time to patient care and less time to maintaining a PC-based desktop, meeting the demand for increased individualised care without the need for additional staff.

The smart card capabilities in the Sun Ray appliance, combined with the smart card services in the Solaris 8 Operating Environment, provide the administration at Peach Regional Medical Center with a highly secure, yet portable, environment which helps increase productivity and reduce risk.


Leslie Versweyveld

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