Feb 28, 2013 (10:02 AM EST)
Caradigm Expands Health Information Exchange Capabilities

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

9 Mobile EHRs Compete For Doctors' Attention
9 Mobile EHRs Compete For Doctors' Attention
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Caradigm, the year-old joint venture of GE Healthcare and Microsoft, has expanded its Amalga health information exchange (HIE) into an "intelligence platform" that provides the foundation for health IT tools for population health management and other accountable and integrated care efforts. In addition, Caradigm has built an application framework to help outside software developers create applications for its platform, and several already have.

The first provider organization to use the new Caradigm intelligence platform will be Continuum Health Partners, a multi-hospital system in New York City. Continuum will also deploy a care management module that Caradigm co-developed with the Geisinger Health Plan, based in Danville, Penn. Caradigm's health IT portfolio is designed to help healthcare organizations connect systems and aggregate data across the community, apply analytics to the data to generate insights into population and individual health, provide clinicians with rapid access to data, maintain regulatory compliance, and implement new applications quickly.

In the latter area, Caradigm's intelligence platform improves on the earlier version of Amalga, said Brandon Savage, chief medical officer and senior VP of product strategy for Caradigm, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.

"Amalga was very good at getting data into a flexible data model," he noted. "But one of the challenges with that was if you built an application, it was challenging to have that application work at any customer site. With the Caradigm intelligence platform, we added a layer that is a common data schema across all customers. So if an application developer wants to build an app, they can be certain it will work for any Amalga customer."

This common data schema, he said, is usable with any electronic health record (EHR) that has been integrated with Caradigm's intelligence platform. Because of its Amalga history, Caradigm already interfaced with leading hospital EHRs such as those of Epic, Cerner, Allscripts GE and McKesson, plus a number of ambulatory care EHRs, he added.

[ Are you ready to meet patient engagement criteria in Meaningful Use? See 7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement. ]

Caradigm's cloud-based solution includes a readmissions management module to help organizations reduce avoidable readmissions; a GE analytics application that helps reduce inappropriate emergency department admissions; another GE tool to help hospitals optimize use of their beds and decrease patient wait times; and solutions for infection tracking and surveillance.

Among Caradigm's population health management features are business intelligence and utilization management tools from CitiusTech, a Caradigm partner; a "cohort management designer" that can produce reports on specific groups of patients; a personal health record from Caradigm partner Get Real Health; and Care Manager, the care management module that Caradigm built with Geisinger.

Savage explained, "Care Manager enables a health plan or a provider organization to manage a large population of patients, stratify those patients who are in most need of engagement, enroll them in care management programs so you can monitor what happens to them in the hospital, at home, or in other care settings, and then have a care plan that drives quality care. That's a foundation for an accountable care organization."

Caradigm's pivot toward accountable care is par for the course these days among HIE vendors, which are placing increased emphasis on their ability to enhance clinical integration and provide analytics for population health management. The question for Caradigm is whether it can shake the image of Amalga as an also-ran.

Mark Moroses, senior VP and CIO at Continuum Health Partners, noted that his organization passed on Amalga four years ago because it was expensive and had received underwhelming reviews from customers. But as time passed, he said, Continuum realized that Amalga had many good features that were underappreciated because organizations hadn't done the necessary prep work.

Now that Continuum is putting more emphasis on population health management, he said, it views the new version of Amalga, coupled with the rest of Caradigm's suite, as an important tool for aggregating data from disparate systems and turning it into useful information through analytics. The advantage of Caradigm's intelligence platform, he said, is the speed with which it can integrate and parse disparate data, "so I can get an interface or a data translation more quickly."

Moroses is less enthusiastic about the care management program, which he said is still missing some key pieces. But Continuum will work with Caradigm to build it out further and get it where it needs to go. "A lot of it's there, but we anticipate being able to mold the rest of it," he said.

Down the line, he added, Caradigm will also help Continuum connect its internal HIE with the regional networks in the New York area. What's holding that back right now, he said, is a lack of HIE standards. "Private HIEs can go further faster, because you don't have 15 different HIEs trying to define a standard."