Humility of Mary Health Partners first to benefit from Palm-McKesson's mobile care partnership

Santa Clara 11 June 2002Palm Inc., a provider of handheld computers, has signed a strategic, two-year alliance with McKesson Corporation, a provider of supply, information and care management solutions to the health care industry. The agreement combines the strength of these two companies to offer health care organisations and professionals mobile and wireless access to the critical clinical information they need to make the best possible patient-care decisions.

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The alliance which is focused on technology collaboration, sales and joint marketing, leverages Palm's handheld market leadership with McKesson's Horizon MobileCare solutions, which extend health care organisations' enterprise clinical information systems to handheld devices. Palm and McKesson plan to jointly market and promote their complementary solutions with a series of demand- and awareness-generation campaigns designed to increase physician and clinician use of information technology for clinical decision-making and patient care.

In addition to joint marketing, the companies are collaborating to ensure optimal performance of McKesson applications on the Palm handheld platform and to strategically plan for future technologies based on the needs of the health care industry. Also, as an approved beta site for Palm, McKesson is currently evaluating a series of potential products for future release. Palm is already well-established in the medical industry and offers a key tool for thousands of physicians, nurses, hospital practices, and pharmacology firms, while McKesson is the industry leader in the health care segment.

"Our solutions are deployed at more health care organisations than any other vendor", stated Bruce Kantelis, vice president of mobile computing for McKesson Information Solutions. "With 10 years' experience designing, installing and ensuring the performance of wireless networks, McKesson is a proven provider in the mobile market. By leveraging Palm's device expertise with the depth of McKesson's patient-care solutions and our experience with health care wireless networks, we can deliver a superior mobile solution which is reliable and easy to use."

McKesson and Palm are working together to ensure that more physicians achieve the proven benefits hospitals have enjoyed by adopting these market-leading mobile and wireless handheld solutions to access information stored in the enterprise information systems of health care organisations.

"In today's environment, health care professionals are challenged with delivering better patient care while answering to the bottom line. Health care IT organisations recognise the need to streamline clinical work flow by implementing reliable and secure solutions", stated Judy Kirkpatrick, Palm's vice president of strategic alliances. "Through this alliance with McKesson, we are building on our successes to provide physicians with mobile solutions to access critical clinical information in legacy systems when and where needed, while allowing health care organisations to maximise the value of their IT investments."

The companies' first joint effort is benefiting a team of physicians and their patients at Humility of Mary Health Partners (HMHP), in Youngstown, Ohio. The physicians can now work more efficiently and effectively by carrying detailed patient information on Palm handhelds.

More than 50 attending physicians and residents at HMHP are using the McKesson Horizon MobileCare Rounding applications on an assortment of Palm handhelds; more than 60 additional users are scheduled to come on board in the next few months. Physicians are not limited to just one predefined handheld requirement and can select the handheld that works best for them, including the Palm m125 and m505 handhelds.

The emergence of "handheld patient charts" allows physicians to be more efficient and effective with their time; the flow of critical data; and, most important, their patients. Each physician's patient information including Patient Census, Demographics, Laboratory, Radiology, and transcribed reports, resides on his or her handheld. When physicians conduct rounds at the hospital, they have the most current patient information with them without the hassle of bulky and cumbersome paper charts.

According to HMHP's chief information officer, Chuck Folkwein, a key driver of HMHP's clinical strategy, is to make it easier for physicians to practise medicine by using information technology. Hospital administrators understand that physicians have a great demand on their time and that helping them use it more efficiently can dramatically improve the working relationship between the physicians and the hospital.

"Our physicians needed an easier, more portable way to access vital patient information", Mr. Folkwein commented. "We've had tremendous physician acceptance with Palm handhelds. Providing a mobile component to the enterprise system at HMHP was the important element that was missing." HMHP is providing the solution to new residents and physicians every day and expects double-digit growth of users in the next year.


Leslie Versweyveld

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