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2/24/2011
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Xerox Hires Innovation Officer For Health IT Practice

Markus Fromherz has big plans to help hospitals implement electronic medical record systems, health information exchanges, and other technology through Xerox's Affiliated Computer Services unit.

Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety
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Slideshow: Health IT Boosts Patient Care, Safety

As the healthcare sector adopts digitized medical record systems, Xerox has found a plethora of opportunities to offer technology and consulting services to health IT managers implementing electronic medical record (EMR) systems, health information exchanges (HIEs), and other hospital systems that sort patient-related data through Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), a business-process outsourcing company it acquired in February 2010.

To help the company grow its healthcare business, Xerox announced this week the appointment of Markus Fromherz, a scientist and former director at the Palo Alto Research Center, as chief innovation officer for healthcare at ACS, a further sign that Xerox is pushing to aggressively add to the 50-plus healthcare organizations that have turned to Xerox in the past year for EMR technology and consulting services.

At the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday, Fromherz told InformationWeek that he listened to healthcare providers' concerns and believes ACS can help solve their problems.

"Several providers told us today that they see a perfect storm coming in terms of requirements and demand for IT resources. Providers are finding themselves in a difficult situation between an unprecedented rate of technological change and a very uncertain regulatory environment," Fromherz said. "A key challenge we heard about at HIMSS is to find and prioritize the resources (such as software engineers) needed to execute the projects. Here, ACS can help with consulting and staffing as well as finding partners."

Fromherz said Xerox is working on advanced image recognition, natural language text understanding, and agent-based workflow technologies that will help automate some of the tedious processes of moving and using information in the clinical context. These solutions will help deliver the answers, summaries, and interpretation physicians need at their fingertips during diagnosis and treatment of patients, he said.

The company is also working on several supporting solutions around the data contained in EMRs, as the technology is used by a growing number of clinicians, patients, administrators, and Medicaid and Medicare operators.

"Key to interpreting the images and text from EMRs are user interfaces that include question answering, text summaries from physician notes, data and text analytics for clinical decision making, and information visualization to sort through large amounts of clinical and operational data at the administrative level. Xerox has ongoing research in all of these areas and is working to bring those capabilities to market in the near future," Fromherz said.

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