Hospitals turn to IBM to help build millions of electronic medical records for improved patient care

Armonk 26 February 2009Capella Healthcare, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Trillium Health Centre and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have turned to IBM to help build a smarter health care system for ensuring patient safety, improving efficiency and reducing medical errors through electronic medical records (EMR).


Reducing health care costs and improving patient care through innovative systems for handling patient records is a major priority in The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, calling for $19 billion in grants and incentives for practices to invest in health IT. This is an effort to help cut waste, reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests, and most importantly, to save lives. Deadly but preventable medical errors kill nearly 100.000 people each year - costing the Unoted States as much as $29 billion annually.

IBM is helping more than 1000 hospitals worldwide integrate and access new intelligence, making EMR become smarter with open technology. This can help them deliver smarter health care through real-time access to clinical and business information spanning multiple systems, as well as many sources of information such as digital imaging and laboratory results. The health care systems are built on IBM open technology for integrating and managing medical data, as well as business intelligence tools for gaining new insight. The technology can also be used for medical personnel that can now have instant access to pertinent information to respond more quickly to patient requirements.

"Now is an important time for industry leaders to step up and contribute to health care reform and transformation. To accelerate achievement of such goals, IBM is teaming with our many business partners, alliances and key clients to drive the creation of integrated delivery systems, including electronic medical records, that help the worldwide health care system become more interconnected, instrumented and intelligent", stated Dan Pelino, general manager, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry. "In this regard, the enablement of EMRs as envisioned by the Obama Administration will help to link diagnosis, drug discovery and health care delivery systems to insurers, employers, communities and patients themselves."

Memorial Hermann Hospital System (MHHS) adopted IBM software and services in concert with IBM Business Partner CGI's Sovera solution to help it improve patient care and efficiency as well as lower costs. The solution provides convenient 24/7 web-based access to MHHS patients' financial information, such as copies of patients' insurance cards, which are scanned into the system at registration sites across more than 25 locations. Similarly, the Health Information Management department uses a high-volume, centralized scanning centre to capture the full range of clinical documentation related to patient care. In just 20 months, MHHS realized more than $1,2 million in operational cost savings. MHHS has an advanced integration between its IBM-CGI Sovera content management solution and its Cerner Millennium EMR clinical application providing physicians and clinicians access to information anywhere and anytime.

Capella Healthcare partners with communities to build strong local health care systems known for quality patient care. Mineral Area Regional Medical Center (MARMC), one of 14 Capella hospitals, is located in Farmington, Missouri, and has been serving that community for over 50 years. With more than 100 physicians on staff, MARMC securely shares digitized information for all of its outpatient services, including laboratory services, electrocardiograms (EKGs), diagnostic imaging, as well as physician and nursing notes. Any record, of any patient, can be viewed and shared on the same day as it was updated.

Utilizing IBM and IBM Business Partner BlueWare's Wellness Connection offerings, MARMC has realized administrative cost and time savings associated with using an electronic system. With a manual system, it could take days to receive and view the information. With the electronic system, a patient's medical records, including results from blood tests or MRIs, are immediately available for off-site physician offices to view - lowering the risk of patient test duplication, therefore, improving patient care while saving the patient both time and money.

One of Canada's largest hospitals, Trillium Health Centre is using IBM business intelligence to provide real-time, accurate insight into patient length of stay, patient safety, service accessibility, staff retention and budgets. With this information, Trillium can maximize cost savings, improve patient care, and understand the critical success factors in improving patient and staff satisfaction. For example, by looking at trends in emergency patient volumes by day of week and by hour, staffing patterns can be adjusted to meet the anticipated demand and ensure that patients receive the care they need.

Staff can also properly link the key performance indicators that impact one another to identify potential problems and show process gaps. They can also map into external databases from the Canadian Institute of Health Informatics and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to benchmark their performance and understand the health needs of the community they serve. With business intelligence, rather than share performance information with only 100 people, more than 3000 staff can be engaged in understanding and working towards a shared vision of being an organisation of choice for their staff and community.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is using IBM technology, built on ILOG, for the organisation's new alerts and notifications system with which Vanderbilt doctors are automatically informed when lab results indicate a critical situation, replacing a traditional process that spanned a chain of communication involving lab technicians, bed-side nurses and providers. Using 21 decision tables in ILOG JRules, the application determines whom to notify, and by which method based on test results, the time of day, patient location and other factors. Vanderbilt University comprises 10 schools, a public policy institute, a distinguished medical centre and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center.

More IBM news is available in this VMW issue's article IBM teams with Google and Continua Health Alliance to move data from remote personal medical devices into Google Health and other PHRs.

Source: IBM

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