HP introduces new health care solutions to better manage patient information

Palo Alto 07 February 2005HP has introduced two solutions that help health care organisations efficiently and cost-effectively access and manage patient information in order to improve quality of care. The HP Medical Archiving Solution and the HP Forms Automation System 1.2 were being showcased at the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference, recently held in Dallas.

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Designed for radiology practices within diagnostic imaging centres, clinics and hospitals, the HP Medical Archiving Solution provides affordable long-term storage of patient studies regardless of size. Physicians can then securely and simultaneously access this vital information in order to collaborate across departments and medical facilities.

The HP Forms Automation System 1.2 is digital pen and paper technology, providing users the simplicity of a traditional pen and paper with the functionality and speed of the Internet. "As part of HP's health strategy, we're delivering solutions that enable collaboration and access to information among health ecosystem partners, drive process efficiency to maximize resource effectiveness, manage both regulatory change and clinical innovation and, most importantly, improve the quality of patient care", stated Jeffrey D. Miller, vice president, worldwide health and education industries, HP. "The HP Medical Archiving Solution and the Forms Automation System accomplish those goals at a fraction of the cost and more efficiently than comparable systems."

The HP Medical Archiving Solution fills a critical gap for health care organisations dealing with the challenges of growing volumes of image data. Regardless of the source - CT Scan, MRI, mammogram, digital x-rays or picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) - the solution provides the flexibility to manage data distributed across tiers of storage and the confidence that comes with continuous, pro-active data checking for unsurpassed data integrity. Medical professionals can then rapidly access the patient studies, using familiar terms such as image type or patient information, via streaming technology.

Scaleable without downtime to greater than 2 petabytes, the equivalent of more than 2000 terabytes of stored data, the solution also allows for a full view of a patient's medical history, making it easier to treat patients quickly, affordably and in a more reliable way.

"Cancer strikes people from all walks of life and from every region in British Columbia. BC Cancer aims to offer the best treatment in the most supportive environment", stated Don Henkelman, chief information officer, Provincial Health Services Authority. "More than 30 hospitals throughout BC can store radiology studies in the province-wide medical image storage system. The ability to share medical information province-wide allows patients to stay close to home during the course of treatment while getting the benefit of the expertise of physicians from across the province. HP and Bycast technologies have helped transform health care and improve patient wellness in BC."

The solution stores data on a high-availability system based on industry-standard HP ProLiant servers, HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays and x86 processors and powered by Bycast's StorageGRID software. Users are able to set policies to control the storage devices and media used to coincide with organisational needs.

The HP Medical Archiving Solution relies on open standards for interoperability and is offered with technology refreshes and services for 24x7 support. The solution interfaces with existing single and multi-PACS applications, while also supporting the archiving requirements of pre-PACS environments.

The HP Medical Archiving Solution gives physicians the ability to create a single repository for secure PACS applications. Single hospitals, imaging clinics or large hospital systems can share their infrastructure to house image types used in different PACS applications. Users can integrate text-based information from health information systems, such as patient records and insurance data, into their solution and migrate images from other vendor PACS to one centralized, consolidated, long-term storage solution. Whenever health professionals access the provider's network, they can securely view the images, even from the Internet.

Mercy Miami hospital, an HP and Bycast customer, is already benefiting from the technology that is part of the solution. "Mercy Miami has improved the quality of patient care by speeding access to diagnostic images. Archived images that previously took three to five minutes to view now take less than a second", stated Jorge Labrada, radiology information systems administrator, Mercy Miami. "The process efficiency achieved through the deployment of HP and Bycast StorageGRID solutions has transformed our patient care delivery by enabling a comparative view of a patient's imaging history."

The HP Medical Archiving Solution also helps hospitals and other health care organisations comply with regulatory requirements guiding the storage, transmission and protection of patient data. It uses a security model that is compliant with the United States Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which regulates the handling of patient information and has mandated its data security requirement by April 2005.

The HP Medical Archiving Solution is expected to be commercially available later this month in North America and Europe. Deployment racks are factory-built configurations that support starter configurations of 5, 10 and 20 terabytes of compressed and protected data. The solution, consisting of hardware, software and services, can be implemented to align with the physical facilities within a health care organisation and is expected to be sold for two to four cents per megabyte.

"We've evaluated the HP Medical Archiving Solution with a critical eye and found it to meet the industry's needs: easy, unlimited storage for patient imaging studies with reliable, fast, anytime/anywhere access", stated John Quinn, chief technology officer, Capgemini.

The HP Forms Automation System (FAS) 1.2 eliminates the need for cumbersome processes such as forms scanning and manual data re-keying. HP FAS allows health care professionals to print forms on demand and collect patient data using standard paper and an HP Digital Pen - used just like a ballpoint pen, which automatically transmits medical records to a central electronic medical record (EMR) system. The HP FAS reduces transaction costs up to three or four times the average cost of $1,25 per form while improving the quality of patient care by reducing administrative tasks of health care professionals.

After a successful trial of the technology, the University Hospital of Basel, one of the largest hospitals in Switzerland, is partnering with HP to deploy digital pen and paper technology in all hospital departments in order to speed up access to data, improve data accuracy and reduce digital data processing costs by 30 percent.

"This is a typical example of a solution that cuts costs and enhances patient convenience which can be developed when a university hospital like Basel combines its expertise with one of the world's leading technology companies", stated Franz Buffon, director of IT, Hospital Forms Solution, the University Hospital of Basel, Switzerland.

Updates to the FAS 1.2 include:

  • A more efficient way for health care professionals to transform handwriting to digital data with the new HP Handwriting Recognition Engine;
  • Better connectivity to EMR systems with customized XML output schemes, decreasing upfront development cost and time investment;
  • Faster form design and deployment, allowing field attributes import and automated forms printing.
The HP Forms Automation System 1.2 is expected to be available later this month.

HP is a technology solutions provider to consumers, businesses and institutions globally. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, global services, business and home computing, and imaging and printing. For the four fiscal quarters ended October 31, 2004, HP revenue totaled $79,9 billion. More information about HP is available in this VMW issue's articles:


Leslie Versweyveld

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