InformationWeek 500: Healthcare Innovators

InformationWeek 500 healthcare companies are using technology in innovative ways to improve care, including state-of-the-art mobile communications, a federated imaging system, and advanced wellness services. Get a look at 10 of them in this slide show.




University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's SingleView is a standards-based platform that provides a federated PACS to unify views of all patients' imaging reports and prior studies across UPMC facilities. When you're part of a large integrated healthcare delivery system like UPMC--which has 20 hospitals, 30 outpatient imaging centers and other facilities performing medical tests, the use of disparate medical imaging is multiplied over many times. The SingleView system developed by UPMC allows radiologists to access reports and imaging studies residing in any of the many PACS and other imaging systems in the UPMC enterprise so that they can compare a patient's imaging when making a reading. Having this information available to about 20,000 UPMC clinicians and radiologists is reducing the number of unnecessary or redundant tests ordered for patients, helping the patients avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. It's also reducing the number of disputes with payers regarding unneeded or redundant testing, said UPMC officials.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 5


Healthways' Embrace offering is a platform to integrate multiple sources of data to deliver and support behavior-change-oriented health and wellness services. Healthways said its Embrace platform, which is used by health plans and employer benefits managers, provides health and wellness services to more than 37 million unique members in the United States, and more than 10 million unique members outside the U.S. The system processes more than one billion healthcare data sets per month, including claims, lab, pharmacy, patient monitoring, clinician reported, self-reported, or other input modalities, representing nearly one third of all commercially available healthcare data in the U.S.; and processes a similar volume internationally in support of a global mission. By identifying members at risk for negative health events early, proactive behavior change can be applied, including collaboration with physicians, nurses, clinical specialists, insurers, and pharmacists to address individuals' unique health and wellness needs.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 8


Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's new wiki was built to help the multiple organizational units -- including IT, clinical effectiveness, research informatics, and the decision support group within finance -- all have roles in creating and managing outcome measures within the pediatric hospital. Cincinnati Children's new DataWiki, built on the open-source MediaWiki platform, allows analysts from all the organizational units to store definitions for the measurements, such as which age ranges, diagnoses and treatment types are included in each measurement. The wiki also stores links to the evidence for outcome measures and evaluation recommendations, screen shots of the actual e-medical record screens that clinicians use to input the data, technical descriptions of where the data lives in both the source EMR database and the division specific data marts, and more. With the wiki, static information that was previously stored in multiple locations is now centrally located. This allows information to be dynamic, so that analysts across multiple organizational units can edit and add to the data. The information is also linkable and searchable and helps us provide consistent and reliable measurements across Cincinnati Children's.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 13


Sparrow Health System is a healthcare provider in mid-Michigan and a regional center of care for cancer, pediatrics, neurology, trauma, and neonatal intensive patients. From its flagship Sparrow Hospital--which includes the 10-story Sparrow Tower, which opened in 2008--as well as its other care facilities across the state, Sparrow provides nearly 500,000 outpatient procedures and 100,000 emergency room visits each year and is the area's only Level 1 trauma center. Three years ago, Sparrow Health launched a mandate to modernize, automate and transform. That meant a major technology overhaul. The transformation effort launched at the same time Sparrow was building a brand new 10-story tower on its Lansing campus to expand emergency and critical care services. And so far, nowhere has the impact of the Sparrow Technology Transformation project been greater than in the Sparrow Hospital Emergency Department, where an e-medical record system has been fully deployed and made universally accessible through the high-speed wireless network, said Sparrow. Emergency doctors and nurses can access patient and clinical data from their tablet PCs and wireless mobile phones. The network connects clinicians with the EMR and other applications, allowing them to access up-to-the-minute patient records, drug interactions, diagnostic images, and other services wherever they are required. Every process in the care cycle, from registering a patient when they arrive, to delivering treatment at the bedside, to a doctor doing final documentation when the patient is admitted or discharged, is completely mobile.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 22


Concentra Health operates 300 health centers in 40 states as well as 250 workplace clinics. While workplace health clinics have traditionally provided work-related and urgent care services, those facilities are expanding their offerings to include primary care, health and wellness programs and coaching, and even initiatives aimed at workers' families. Concentra Health offers e-health records and employee health portal services to clients. The company is working on its next generation of e-health records for the organization and has introduced a new electronic health record for employer worksite health centers. Concentra is also building out a clinical IT roadmap to include a full continuity of care records. By utilizing this technology, Concentra said clients will have the option to give their employees the ability to send health information to their onsite health center prior to a visit, schedule visits, review lab results, answer health-related questionnaires, report work-related injuries and illnesses and communicate directly with health center physicians, all though an online, EHR portal. Medical information documented in the EHR can then be synced to the employee's own portal page, or can be shared with a personal health record, including Google Health, Microsoft HealthVault, or NoMoreClipboard.com. Concentra predicts that clients who utilize the worksite EHR technology will experience a decrease in employee health costs.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 33


Caritas Chrisi's flagship hospital's St. Elizabeth's Medical Center's William Connell Pavilion houses a new state of the art emergency room in the Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Caritas Christi is New England's largest community based hospital network. Caritas recently completed the first year of a three-year, $70 million capital plan to leverage information technology to redesign care delivery. Among its IT achievements in the last 12 months, Caritas has deployed clinical information systems, including medication bar-coding and computerized physician order entry, to five of its six hospitals; deployed office-based e-health records to more than 200 community based physicians hosted in Caritas' own private cloud; and deployed athenahealth's Collector software enabled service to its entire 400+ employed physician group. Among its other ongoing work, Caritas has launched a comprehensive data analytics strategy and is creating a health data exchange using Microsoft's Amalga Unified Intelligence System and HealthVault products.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 44


The University of Pennsylvania Health System's new Ruth and Raymond Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine was a $302 million capital project, and features advanced medical and information technologies. Among the IT components of the new Perelman Center is an ambulatory e-medical record system to ensure that treatment decisions and patient information are kept up to date and is accessible to clinicians via the center's data network, via wireless or land-based communication. Patient information can also be instantaneously communicated between clinical care systems, including such data-intensive therapies as proton therapy and radiation oncology, which rely on highly complex and specific data. Software used by Perelman Center oncologists helps physicians create individualized patient treatment plans based on standard protocols and make treatment decisions guided by comprehensive decision support. Also, a Web-based patient portal allows Perelman Center patients to view lab reports, request medication refills, request physician referrals, and securely communicate with their physicians.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 54


Rhode Island Hospital, a partner in the Lifespan Health Care System in Rhode Island, developed the Rapid Emergency Satellite Communications System, or RESCQ, the first statewide, fully interoperable, utility-independent, standardized, mobile emergency communications in the nation, said Lifespan. RESCQ's goal is to support robust collaboration among health care providers and emergency management agencies to improve medical care delivery in emergency situations--as well as provide a collaborative emergency response model that can be easily replicated elsewhere. The RESCQ system consists of palletized, highly mobile and self-contained assemblies of customized communications equipment comprised to form a complete emergency communications platform. The units are designed to be fully independent and customized to support emergency communications. The pallets employ standardized components and provide for bridging of disparate, two-way radio networks, gateways to medical information, and phone calling capabilities with an internal dialing plan between units. The system can be set up in about 20 minutes and provides instant phone, Internet and radio connection, from anywhere in the world.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 74


Odyssey Healthcare, which employs 6,500, is one of the largest hospice care providers in the U.S., including care that's provided in patients' homes. Odyssey Healthcare hospice caregivers are equipped with BlackBerry Smartphone devices to document in a simple form each step of treatment provided to patients. The mobile BlackBerry application helps to capture at point-of-care patient visit information, reducing paperwork while helping to meet federal reporting regulations. The devices have embedded security, based on technology from Media Sourcery, protecting and encrypting patients' health information, which is transmitted to patients' records residing in Odyssey's clinical information system. Data is also uploaded to Odyssey's data warehouse for analysis and trend.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 78


Non-profit Banner Health, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Az., and provides healthcare services in seven states and operates 23 hospitals, is taking an innovative approach to training and continuing education for its professional staff. The Banner Simulation Medical Center is a 55,000-square-foot, 55-bed hospital that features a fully equipped and functioning ER, operating room, pediatric ICU, neonatal ICU, adult ICU, labor and delivery, and patient care medical and surgical unit. Seventy-one patient simulators - or computerized mannequins - are willing participants in any simulated patient care situation that is free of any real consequences. Each unit is complete with the full complement of "simulated" medical gases, computer charting stations for e-medical record documentation, and all the technology and equipment required for each respective areas such as ventilators, defibrillators, feeding and infusion pumps, and physiologic monitors. Other innovative technologies like e-ICU and e-hospital concepts are integrated as well. The simulated medical center is used to deliver experiential or hands-on immersive curricula, training and evaluations on a variety of clinical procedural skills and scenario based learning situations including but not limited to the following: adult learning principles, evidence based practice, measureable objectives, performance measures, experiential learning and outcome data.

Overall InformationWeek 500 ranking: 90

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