Deals, Deployments, and Short News--October 21, 2008


By Allison Proffitt, Digital HealthCare & Productivity staff

October 21, 2008 | Kaiser Permanente announced today electronic health records in 22 hospitals serving 4.8 million members, the most hospitals using electronic medical records of any civilian hospital system in the nation. The latest count results from full inpatient implementation of Kaiser Permanente’s EHR, KP HealthConnect, in 12 Southern California hospitals. All of the region’s 3.3 million members are covered by an end-to-end electronic health records. KP HealthConnect is the world's largest civilian electronic health record, and this milestone puts the organization well ahead of other hospital-based organizations. Further, all of Kaiser Permanente's 14,000-plus physicians now have electronic access to their patients' medical records in every one of Kaiser Permanente's 430 medical offices and clinics. With KP HealthConnect, virtually all Kaiser Permanente members are routinely treated with an electronic chart in the outpatient setting. Kaiser Permanente's 8.7 million members have access to My Health Manager—Kaiser Permanente's personal health record—where they can manage their health online. Patients are empowered, with My Health Manager providing critical time-saving features, including online appointment scheduling and prescription refills. In addition, users have 24/7 online access to lab test results, eligibility and benefits information, and even their children's immunization records.

The Continua Health Alliance, an organization dedicated to enabling interoperable health care products and solutions worldwide, announces the first demonstration of seamlessly connected Continua pre-certified products and solutions. A&D Medical, Cambridge Consultants, Cypak, FitLinxx, Google Health, IBM, Intel, National Health Service (NHS), Nonin Medical, Oracle, Partners, Philips, Roche Diagnostics, and University Health Network will participate on October 27, 2008 at the Partners Center for Connected Health 5th Annual Connected Health Symposium in Boston by providing devices and software solutions that support Continua’s upcoming Version One guidelines and share a common interface. The devices and solutions will be set in both home and professional settings. Audience members will see the benefits of real-time information sharing, including improved data for diagnostics and treatment, time and cost savings, and an improved patient experience.

In addition, Continua also announced the addition of Dossia and Google to its membership. Part of the growing Personal Health Record/Personal Health System market, both Dossia and Google (through its Google Health team), are focused on creating richer consumer health care experiences using tools and applications that allow secure information storage and retrieval. Each will bring a depth of knowledge, breadth of resources, and unique perspective to the Alliance and will help Continua to ensure that current and future Personal Health Record/Personal Health System applications can be used across a wide array of Continua-certified devices.

With the American Heart Association’s innovative new cardiovascular wellness center—www.heart360.org—you can now enter your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose numbers, log physical activities, record your weight, and keep a diary of the medications you’re taking or used to take. The entries are stored online in a secure, password-protected system to be charted, compared and updated—to help you set goals and track your progress in reducing heart disease risk factors. A variety of links to relevant American Heart Association content are also available on the site. Powered by Microsoft HealthVault, Heart360 replaces and expands on the American Heart Association’s former Blood Pressure Management Center. The new site offers the ability to track a broader range of heart disease risk factors, while providing more guidance and information. New users can visit www.Heart360.org to set up a Microsoft HealthVault account. Previous users of the American Heart Association’s Blood Pressure Management Center can log in normally and their data will automatically transfer to Heart360.

Arrowhead Radiology Medical Group has selected McKesson to manage its revenue cycle operations. McKesson’s Revenue Management Solutions group will provide an array of services designed specifically to meet the needs of the Colton, Calif., radiology practice including billing, accounts receivable management, reporting and account management services. Arrowhead will leverage McKesson’s extensive experience to help increase revenue through improved collections, reporting and account management. McKesson’s radiology revenue management service is supported by employees focused on the radiology specialty. In addition, the radiology billing service taps the expertise of coders who specialize in interventional radiology, making it possible for Arrowhead to increase revenues related to interventional procedures such as catheter angiography and catheter embolization. McKesson will partner with Arrowhead to ensure that billing will be appropriately documented and submitted in a timely manner.

Creating a unique patient identification number for every person in the United States would facilitate a reduction in medical errors, simplify the use of electronic medical records, increase overall efficiency and help protect patient privacy, according to a RAND Corporation study. RAND Corporation is the nation’s largest independent health policy research program. Although creating such an identification system could cost as much as $11 billion, the effort would likely return even more in benefits to the nation’s health care system, according to researchers from RAND Health. RAND researchers examined the costs of creating a unique patient identification system, compared the error rates of such a system and its alternatives, and examined the operational advances and disadvantages of the technology. The RAND study concluded that one of the primary benefits created by broad adoption of unique patient identifiers would be to eliminate record errors, and help reduce repetitive and unneeded care. Support for the study was provided by a consortium of health information technology companies. They include Cerner Corporation, CPSI, Intel, IBM, Microsoft, MISYS, Oracle and Siemens. The study, “Identity Crisis: An Examination of the Costs and Benefits of a Unique Patient Identifier for the U.S. Health Care System,” is available at www.rand.org.

Valley Medical Group, P.C., a multi-specialty medical group serving Western Massachusetts, has selected athenahealth’s on-demand electronic medical record (EMR) service, athenaClinicals. Valley Medical Group, with over 60 medical providers, will implement athenahealth’s EMR service to optimize clinical workflow and outcomes in response to a growing need to demonstrate improved patient safety, service, and quality-of-care.

McKesson has been selected by the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, an agency of the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec (Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services), to implement advanced medical imaging technologies across Quebec’s two largest hospital networks. In addition to improving patient services and collaboration among radiologists, McKesson Canada and its health information technology division, Integrated Healthcare Solutions, will lead a consortium to create one of the largest diagnostic imaging repository (DI-r) in North America. Under the C$64 million, eight-year agreement, McKesson Canada will provide its Horizon Medical Imaging picture archiving and communication system (PACS)—plus related services and maintenance—to the 43 hospital facilities within the regions of the Réseau universitaire intégré de santé McGill University and Réseau universitaire intégré de santé de l’Université de Montréal (RUIS McGill and RUIS Montréal university-affiliated hospital groups). In total, these RUIS McGill and RUIS Montréal hospitals serve 60% of Quebec’s population. The McKesson Canada team will also lead the development of a large-scale DI-r for centralized image archiving services, and will capitalize on the interoperability offered by Horizon Medical Imaging to connect the 43 RUIS McGill and RUIS Montréal facilities with 52 other Quebec hospitals within the assigned territory. This DI-r will link a total of 95 hospitals, covering more than six million examinations annually.

Rush-Copley Medical Center launched a multi-million dollar initiative to reduce the risk of medication errors and enhance the overall quality of care for its patients. The 183-bed Aurora, Ill.-based hospital will install a bar-code-based, closed-loop system from McKesson to automate the hospital’s medication-use process from the patient’s bedside, back to the loading dock. The initiative will transform Rush-Copley’s medication processes from completely manual to a highly automated environment. For instance, pharmacists will use the Horizon Meds Manager pharmacy information system to electronically receive, verify, and process a doctor’s order for patient medications, eliminating errors caused by bad handwriting. Medications will be packaged in individual doses imprinted with bar codes using the PACMED high-speed packager. The prescribed medication will be selected by the automated ROBOT-Rx system with 99.99 percent accuracy, replacing error-fraught, laborious manual picking. McKesson’s MedCarousel automated storage and retrieval system manages drug inventory and streamlines refill of nursing’s medication cabinets. And nurses will use the Horizon Admin-Rx™ handheld bar-code scanning system to electronically verify and document the “five rights” of medication administration—the right patient, right medication, right dose, and right time via the right route. An alert will trigger if the medication, dosage, or administration isn’t correct, prompting the nurse to check the patient’s chart and the doctor’s order.

icyou announced its launch out of beta, which includes new personalization options and communication tools for users. Facilitating effortless searches for health care content and providing users with videos and links to updates and news, the expanded site helps icyou-users remain in the know about the health issues that impact them personally. Originally launched in September 2007, icyou is a diverse library of online health care videos. Built around common health concerns, the Web site features videos uploaded by patients, caregivers, doctors and experts. Editorial staff for icyou work with medical editors and contributing physicians to internally produce high-quality videos and review video content posted to the site.

In an effort to help reduce the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), GetWellNetwork is enabling hospitals to educate new parents on the seriousness of the injuries that occur when a young child is shaken violently. Accessed through the GetWellNetwork PatientLife System, an interactive bedside technology, new parents are encouraged to watch a multimedia video informing them about SBS and what they can do to prevent it.

GetWellNetwork’s pediatric client community has reached record growth during 2008. Three of the nation’s top children’s hospitals recently signed agreements to partner with GetWellNetwork to implement IPC through the PatientLife System, including Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Del., Disney Children’s Hospital at Florida Hospital, Orlando, Fla., and Miami Children’s Hospital, Miami, Fla. These recent partnerships represent the addition of more than 500 pediatric beds to the GetWellNetwork children’s hospital community. Continuing on this growth trajectory, GetWellNetwork plans to engage more than half a million pediatric patients and families in the care process by the end of 2009.

Executive Appointments

Continua is pleased to welcome Charles 'Chuck' Parker as the Alliance’s new Executive Director. A health care professional with more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Charles was most recently the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Masspro, one of the United States’ leading performance improvement organizations dedicated to advancing health care quality. Beginning in January, Chuck will work with Continua’s Board of Directors to develop a vision and strategic plan for guiding new initiatives for growth, financial stability, and services to membership. Chuck will drive Continua’s strategic plan through participation in various committees and work groups while becoming the face of the Alliance to the industry and marketplace.

Foresight Corporation is pleased to announce that health care industry expert Debra Strickland has joined the company's Development division as Senior Solutions Architect. In this role, she will work closely with prospects and customers to propose and design new technical solutions, serve as a liaison between Foresight and key health care industry groups, influence Foresight product roadmaps, and support Foresight's Sales and Marketing teams. The position will enable Foresight to draw from her experience in leadership roles with the Workgroup for EDI (WEDI) and X12, where she spearheaded development of the 835 remittance advice transaction, developed new transactional models for consumer-directed health plans, and helped articulate the interpretation of the real-time adjudication business process model.

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