December 16, 2009
A Washington, D.C., post-acute care center is building an Internet-based electronic health records system to allow patients and their families to better manage their health after patients leave the hospital.
Golden Living and Microsoft are collaborating on building the enterprise application using Microsoft Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS) to bridge disparate internal and external systems storing data in otherwise incompatible formats, including hospitals, public and private payers, independent physicians, and post-acute services. Golden Living is the first post-acute care organization to adopt Amalga UIS, the companies said in a joint statement.
The goal is to do a better job managing chronic diseases, improve clinical outcomes, and substitute early intervention and prevention for costly hospitalization.
"The potential is there for significant improvements in healthcare quality and cost efficiency -- exactly the kind of results that are being sought in the healthcare reform," said Golden Living president and CEO Neil Kurtz, M.D., in a statement.
Acute care facilities like Golden Living, which include nursing homes, are different from other healthcare providers in that the patient is frequently not managing his or her own care, said Brad Savage, senior vice president and chief information officer for Golden Living, in a phone interview with InformationWeek. Often, the patient is a senior citizen, and the person managing care is family member.
People seeking ongoing care after hospitalizations use multiple healthcare providers for recovery and for treating chronic conditions. Few of them see the hospital patient record, and fewer still are linked electronically to provide coordinated, high-quality care, Golden Living said.
"Golden Living selected Amalga UIS in part for the ability to link a patient's personal health information stored in Microsoft HealthVault with the patient's data stored in Golden Living systems. HealthVault is an online personal health application platform that lets people gather, store and share health information online," Golden Living said.
Patients control their HealthVault accounts, and can authorize Golden Living to augment existing information with additional personal health data from post-acute providers.
Post-acute patients are often learning to live differently than they did before, either coping with chronic conditions or making lifestyle changes to prevent recurrence of the condition that prompted hospitalization. Many need to share information with multiple healthcare providers and family members, and that need to change becomes more important as the patient gets older. Amalga and HealthVault facilitate those kinds of information exchanges, Golden Living said.
Golden Living will also use Amalga UIS to help integrate patient care across its own businesses, including skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation therapy, assisted living, home health, and hospice.
Patients moving between Golden Living facilities will have their health information following them, without needing to be redone, the company said. "The use of Microsoft Amalga allows us to bridge the information between these various care settings and build a robust view of the patient across the enterprise no matter where they've been seen," Savage said.
Amalga UIS is in use at more than 100 hospitals, including New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the Johns Hopkins Health System.
Golden Living plans to complete the first phase of its Amalga implementation, its in-house deployment, in the second quarter of 2010. The patient- and caregiver-facing applications are still being evaluated.
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