The panorama of health care proposals paraded by Congress is just one act of a drama unfolding behind the scenes. Mostly hidden from public view, the industry continues a metamorphosis as it adopts Health Information Technology (HIT) systems. HIT systems are designed to dramatically transform the delivery of health care, making it safer, more effective, and more efficient. And one way they are posed to do so is by generating huge amounts of data that is more amenable to statistical analysis. But the advent of big data also has the potential to bring big headaches for health care providers, which is why they are turning to companies like ORHub, Inc. (ORHB) (ORHB Profile), Medtronic plc (MDT), Cerner (CERN), Omnicell, Inc. (OMCL) and McKesson (MCK) that offer novel technological remedies.
The development of these technological remedies was catalyzed back in 2009 after the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which provided incentives for the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) and supporting technology. To receive the financial incentives under the Act, providers are required to demonstrate “meaningful use,” which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) defines as using certified EHR technology to improve quality, safety, efficiency and reduce health disparities; engage patients and families in their health care; improve care coordination; and improve population and public health – while maintaining privacy and security. This is a tall order, and one that health care providers often struggle to meet.
A look at the first stage of Meaningful Use (MU) will reveal why. MU Stage 1 has 14 Core Objectives and 10 Menu Objectives for hospitals. The 14 Core Objectives encompass a comprehensive and daunting list of mandates. Hospitals must introduce computerized provider order entries (CPOEs), introduce the one clinical decision support rule, do drug-to-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks, record the patient’s demographic profile, maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses, maintain an active medication list, record and chart changes in vital signs, and record the patient’s smoking status, in addition to submitting reports to the CMS, safeguarding the information, and sharing it with patients, on request, and other providers.
This data collation and integration remains a goal of HIT systems such as the one offered by ORHub (ORHB). The ORHub Software is a cloud-based proprietary platform aiding the transformation of surgery from a traditional approach to a value-based model.
Known as Surgical Resource Management, this software was specifically designed for surgery management, providing significantly enhanced capabilities compared to more traditional EHR solutions.
The platform facilitates care providers at every stage of the surgical process to collaborate, organize, deliver, measure and reimburse in one intuitive, easy-to-use program. This significantly decreases cost and improves outcomes by eliminating inefficiencies and duplication of effort, as well as errors and omissions that result from siloed processes in outdated software and poor handoffs from one part of the care process to another.
ORHub’s technology is being used by two hospitals in Southern California, and the company has plans to run three pilot programs in other hospitals before officially launching the platform nationwide.
Medtronic (MDT) has embraced the integration strategy in earnest. In 2014, it acquired, for close to $43 billion, Covidien, which makes a range of patient monitoring platforms and navigation systems. Medtronic, which produces the smallest pacemaker on the market, continues its innovative streak. It says its Health Informatics & Monitoring product can let physicians “be in two places at once,” and makes this claim because the system gives physicians the ability to remotely view vital information from multiple device categories, including ventilators, capnography monitors, depth of consciousness monitors, cerebral/somatic oximeters, and pulse oximeters.
The system wirelessly transmits patient information from the bedside to a hospital’s server. From there, clinicians can view the data within the hospital network on any web-enabled device. Also, thanks to wireless sensors, clinicians are able to monitor patients’ vitals – even while away from the patient or hospital.
Also heavily betting on integration is Cerner (CERN), the world’s largest publicly traded pure health information technology company with 2016 revenues of $4.8 billion. Cerner’s Revenue Cycle Management (RCM) system brings together clinical, financial and operational data in a way that improves workflow and helps to control costs across both acute and ambulatory locations. Last month, it inaugurated two new office towers as part of its “Innovation” campus. The complex, to be further expanded over the next 10 years, is being constructed to look like a strand of DNA.
Omnicell (OMCL) offers IV robotic and workflow solutions, products that automate the dispensing of medication, and hospital supply chain management software. The company provides services to over 4,000 health care facilities around the world and it has about 32,000 institutional and retail pharmacy customers.
McKesson (MCK) is a Fortune Global 500 company that has identified the four major big data health care challenges as the deluge of digital data, not enough data scientists, the limitations of existing EHR systems, and institutional resistance to change. To deal with these challenges it is offering its McKesson Analytics Explorer, which uses visualization to help users analyze data. The company sees this approach as a way to make advanced statistical techniques available to those without mathematical training.
ORhub is joining the ranks of these leaders with its SaaS platform, which has already been implemented in two major hospitals in California.
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