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December 14, 2011
3 Min Read
12 EHR Vendors That Stand Out
12 EHR Vendors That Stand Out (click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Health insurer Humana has taken a significant step to advance its clinical analytics capabilities by acquiring Anvita Health, a San Diego, Calif.-based healthcare analytics firm, a move that officials say will enable Humana to provide healthcare organizations with actionable data as a way to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs.
While terms of the deal were not disclosed, both companies issued a statement saying the purchase will help Humana implement a broader set of clinical outreach efforts as well as deploy stronger analytical tools for its own use.
Humana will offer Anvita's suite of software to hospitals and physician practices within its network, as well as to other health insurance companies seeking tools to help them make improvements to the quality of care and service they provide.
"If you can get information at the point of care to customers, consumers, and patients within an integrated system of care, you can produce superior outcomes both clinically and financially," Paul Kusserow, Humana's chief strategy and corporate development officer, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "We think this investment in Anvita's business intelligence and analytics software is an essential underpinning to our future business strategy."
[ For background on e-prescribing tools, see 6 E-Prescribing Vendors To Watch.]
According to Kusserow, one of the most important features of Anvita's software is its ability to cull through different electronic medical records (EMRs), which often post lab results using different measurements. The software uses algorithms to convert a measurement from one unit to another, thus standardizing the data, which is then turned into a single point of reference.
"Let's say it's a calcium result you are tracking, and one IT system has it reported in milligrams per liter, another one in milliequivalents per deciliter, and yet another one in micrograms per microliter: you can't see if the patient is getting better or worse until you standardize the unit of measures," Dr. Ahmed Ghouri, Anvita Health's co-founder and chief medical officer, told InformationWeek Healthcare.
Tracking lab results and other clinical data will be valuable to Humana as it prepares information for the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS), standardized performance measures that provide healthcare purchasers and consumers with information to evaluate the quality of different health insurance plans.
HEDIS measures include a broad range of important health data, such as asthma medication use, persistence of beta-blocker treatment after a heart attack, and data on breast cancer screening. The data is used by large employer groups and consultants to select and evaluate health plans.
"Since we are a large Medicare player, the key for us is quality outcomes. A lot of our future financial position is going to be based on HEDIS scores and to get HEDIS scores you have to draw on a lot of different information," Kusserow said.
Accountable care organizations (ACOs) will also provide Humana with another opportunity to use Anvita's analytics software. ACOs monitor populations of patients and tie provider reimbursements to quality metrics and reductions in the cost of care.
"Strategically we believe that with the advent of ACOs and the pressure on costs, both from the government and from employers, there is going to be incredible pressure to bring medical cost inflation down," Kusserow said. "That's why an investment like this is essential for us."
When are emerging technologies ready for clinical use? In the new issue of InformationWeek Healthcare, find out how three promising innovations--personalized medicine, clinical analytics, and natural language processing--show the trade-offs. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)
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