Deals, Deployments, and Short News - Oct. 28, 2008


By Allison Proffitt, Digital HealthCare & Productivity staff

Medical students at the University of Louisville now will be able to use wireless technology to enhance their education and improve the clinical care of patients, thanks to an innovative new agreement with Sprint. A first with medical schools, existing and incoming students will have the option of purchasing a discounted Sprint Windows Mobile smartphone, such as the Palm Treo 800w or the HTC Touch Diamond. The devices will include medical applications, such as ePocrates and medical and drug reference databases and can be used to access the university’s email program and address book.

The South Dakota Department of Health’s (SDDOH) Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response has deployed Logical Images’s VisualDx to help facilitate preparedness efforts at the point-of-care and to bring specialist-level information into 82 medical facilities throughout South Dakota. VisualDx offers health care providers fast, point-of-care access to a visual diagnostic decision support system that improves health care quality by reducing costly medical errors through better efficiencies in disease recognition and response to events of public health significance. Using disaster preparedness funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), SDDOH licensed VisualDx to provide community medical facilities with a tool to more quickly and accurately identify medical conditions based on visual clues. VisualDx is the only Web-based decision support system that merges medical images with clinical information to build a visual list of patient-relevant conditions using problem-oriented based search criteria that can improve diagnostic accuracy by 120 percent. Half of all diseases demonstrate a skin or pattern clue. VisualDx offers real-time access to concise clinical information and more than 17,000 medical images presenting diseases in variation of severity, skin type, age and passage of time, covering more than 900 diseases--250 of which are infectious.

Clinical Trials & Surveys Corp. (C-TASC) has been awarded a federal Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a first task order totaling $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) to provide clinical trial management services for a study to be conducted by the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research (DESPR). Throughout the course of the study, C-TASC will use its StudyCTMS study management software solution to provide Data Coordinating Center (DCC) services, including a fully operational, state-of-the-art data management system, management of biospecimen and radiology data shipment and inventory, statistical expertise and programming and logistical support.

St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Covington, Ky. has selected McKesson’s Revenue Management Solutions for outreach laboratories, which include billing, accounts receivable management, reporting and account management services. McKesson helps laboratories manage high volume / small-dollar claims, improve laboratory collection rates and gain revenue cycle management insight through in-depth management reports. With McKesson and St. Elizabeth working together to ensure accurate financial reporting, coding, and billing, St. Elizabeth anticipates a reduction in outreach lab accounts receivable days. A McKesson team will actively work on denied claims to help minimize the medical center’s write-offs and bad debt.

MEDHOST has released version 4.2 of its Emergency Department Information System (EDIS), the latest re-invention of its easy to use system which has new features designed to improve patient safety and regulatory compliance while streamlining and improving clinical workflow. Additional features now available in version 4.2 that are designed to improve patient safety, regulatory compliance and workflow include: weight based dosing for medication orders, automatic and unobtrusive reminders about incomplete tasks at disposition, interactive and automated online Medication Reconciliation Form that lists all medications on one form and gives the ability to make modifications to the data, and disposition pathway redesign for faster disposition.

MEDHOST has also extended its product offering to include a patient self check in kiosk called Emergency Department Patient Access Self Service (ED PASS). Upon arrival patients can check in with the easy to use touch screen kiosk. With the swipe of a driver’s license, patient demographics are immediately captured, and details such as reason for visit, location and intensity of pain or injury, and complaint specific risk factors empower clinicians with rich information about patient background and acuity. Intuitive desktop alerts notify clinicians when a high-risk patient checks in so care can begin without delay. Northridge Hospital Medical Center, MEDHOST’s first ED PASS Customer and Catholic Healthcare West’s flagship hospital located in Northridge, Calif., are implementing three ED PASS kiosks to speed patient check in, assist nurses in managing triage and streamline patient registration.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has announced the progress of the organizations enrolled in the 5 Million Lives Campaign, a national effort to help U.S. hospitals dramatically reduce incidents of avoidable medical harm. The Campaign asks hospitals to introduce up to 11 evidence-based health care interventions and to engage their trustees in the effort, in order to protect patients across the nation from five million incidents of medical harm over a 24-month period, ending December 9, 2008. To date, 4,030 hospitals across the nation have enrolled in the Campaign--approximately 80% of U.S. hospital beds. The Campaign has catalyzed the development of an extensive national network that supports hospitals in the hard work of making improvement--sharing information and reinforcing energy and optimism among the thousands of participating hospitals. Full reporting will come in December.

American WellT and ActiveHealth Management (ActiveHealth) announced a strategic collaboration to offer an innovative real-time technology that combines ActiveHealth's CareEngine analytics, with American Well's Online Care System. When CareEngine identifies a medical issue (or gap in care) for a patient, the physician will receive an alert when they are actively consulting with the patient in an Online Care session. The physician can consider such information as well as the corresponding literature reference while offering guidance to the patient or suggesting a course of treatment. Like a real-time teleprompter, the patient-specific alerts are visually embedded as an integral (optional) resource in the physician's Online Care console. The CareEngine System is ActiveHealth's patented clinical decision support technology. The CareEngine compares patient health data to medical best practices that are based on the latest findings in evidence-based literature. It then issues alerts when opportunities for better care or potential medical errors are identified. American Well's Online Care enables live communication between physicians and patients. By leveraging CareEngine, physicians providing Online Care are made aware of individualized, specific opportunities to enhance or improve care - for example, stopping a potentially harmful medication mix or adding a necessary evaluation to their patient's treatment plan. The technology is expected to be commercially available to U.S. health plan clients of American Well and ActiveHealth Management in 2009.

Logicalis has announced a strategic partnership with Enterprise Data Management (EDM) specialist, BridgeHead Software, with the objective of providing expertise and technology to support critical health care information technology (IT) environments. The partnership is intended to help IT professionals at health care organizations worldwide, who must maintain a high level of data availability to assure patient care, while dealing with the exponential growth of electronic patient medical records and high-resolution medical imaging. The two companies will provide a consultative resource and a software platform to support these requirements, as well as addressing the growing requirements related to retaining, securing and protecting patient records in compliance with regional regulations such as the United States' Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Europe's EC 95/46 Directive, and Japan's HPB 517.

SwiftMD has announced the launch of its Web- and phone-based medical diagnosis service. SwiftMD is the first telemedicine company staffed exclusively with board-certified emergency medicine physicians, available 24/7 to diagnose and treat non-critical health care problems. SwiftMD targets individual consumers and sponsoring health plans, employers and government agencies that want better quality and more convenient health care, while decreasing its costs. SwiftMD will deliver a phone consultation with an emergency medicine physician within 30 minutes of a member’s initial request in most instances. Members pay a flat, one-time registration fee for the set-up of their electronic personal health record (PHR), a monthly membership fee, and a consultation fee for each SwiftMD visit. SwiftMD doctors interact with members by phone, view members’ PHRs and diagnose non-critical illnesses or conditions. Physicians can order lab tests and prescribe and refill necessary medications. Physicians can also facilitate follow-up care with an ER, specialist or primary care physician.

Health care software providers ZirMed and Computers Unlimited have announced a partnership to bring greater performance and value to users of Computers Unlimited’s TIMS HME integrated business management system. Under the terms of the agreement, Computers Unlimited (CU) will integrate ZirMed’s flagship revenue cycle management system into TIMS software, giving its Home Medical Equipment (HME) users a number of new capabilities that add both convenience and efficiency. TIMS offers HME and Durable Medical Equipment (DME) companies rental equipment billing and tracking, bar code inventory control, medical gas tracking, data analysis tools, document imaging capture, third-party system integration and more, in one comprehensive platform. With the addition of ZirMed’s revenue cycle management system, CU’s TIMS software provides even more business support.

Winchester District Memorial Hospital (WDMH), a progressive, rural-based community teaching hospital in Winchester, Ontario, Canada, selected QuadraMed CPR (QCPR) as part of its strategic initiative to improve rural patient safety and care through clinical decision support tools and medication management. In addition to QCPR software and services, WDMH also purchased QuadraMed Electronic Document Management and QuadraMed Enterprise Scheduling solutions to accelerate operational efficiencies. QCPR will provide WDMH with a fully integrated electronic health record that operates on an enterprise platform built upon InterSystems Cache, a high-performance, post-relational, SQL database that is consistently ranked best in KLAS. Also purchased was the QuadraMed Electronic Document Management solution, which will enable the hospital to proactively manage, process, and securely store patient and business data through a central repository for patient documents and images. Driven by a rules-based scanning engine, QuadraMed Enterprise Scheduling solution supplies WDMH with powerful tools to automate the front-end of the health care process, resulting in streamlined patient access, scheduling and billing, as well as reduced patient identity errors.

The newly launched Health Care Notification Network (HCNN) has just delivered the first online drug alerts to U.S. physicians. The alert focused on a widely manufactured and commonly used class of antibiotics and was sent immediately via the HCNN to health care providers, who are no longer forced to wait days or weeks for a traditional “Dear Doctor” letter to arrive via U.S. mail. In just six months – and as a result of the joint efforts of the AMA, state and specialty medical societies, health plans, consumer advocacy groups, government leaders and industry – the HCNN already reaches physicians across the country. The HCNN is promoted by these organizations, as well as most medical liability carriers and many university medical centers, because it significantly reduces delays in notifying physicians of important medication and device safety alerts, which dramatically improves patient safety.

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