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Hewlett-Packard Expands Digital Healthcare Framework

Feb 21, 2011 (02:02 AM EST)

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Hewlett-Packard on Monday unveiled a set of products that it says will let healthcare organizations provide coordinated care across their inpatient and outpatient facilities.

A key piece of the product set, which HP rolled out at the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, is an upgrade to inpatient digital hospital system HP released last year that integrates applications such as electronic patient records, nurse call and patient and asset tracking. The new HP Digital Hospital 2.0 provides an expanded framework and formal reference architecture to the existing digital hospital infrastructure.

HP also rolled out HP Virtual Health Management, or V-Health, which provides tools to monitor and deliver care to patients in their homes and other remote settings.

These products make up a framework that's designed to handle the complexities of healthcare, said Baldur Johnsen, lead of HP's worldwide healthcare provider segment for enterprise business. They include the different services that healthcare organizations need, and because it's architecture, it can be extended beyond the hospital, Johnsen said.

"If you can solve the problem within a hospital--which is the most complex organization in healthcare--you are then solving the needs of less complex organizations, as well, and can take that architecture and framework, and replicate it across an integrated delivery network or regional health organization," he said.

While the Virtual Health Management concept has its roots in telemedicine, it focuses on outpatient and home care. "We decided to not use the word 'tele' because we felt it was more retrospective; it's kind of an old way of thinking," he said. HP has introduced Virtual Health Management to facilitate technology support across the care continuum in hospitals, ambulatory clinics, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and physicians' offices, as well as in patients' homes.

With Digital Hospital 2.0 healthcare professionals can receive messages and alerts on wireless devices about new lab results, radiology exams, patient monitoring data, and other information as it becomes available.

Better patient monitoring and management is at the core of the current national discussion about healthcare payment reform and the formation of Accountable Care Organizations, in which healthcare providers will be paid a set amount for each patient assigned to them instead of a fee for service. That changes how healthcare providers think about their business, Johnsen says. "Instead of the incentive being how to fill hospital beds, it now becomes how to keep your patients out of the hospital. That's going to change behavior and the way we think about the technology support for these organizations," he said.

HP also said it's working with Greenway Medical Technologies to offer custom electronic health record systems. Greenway's PrimeSUITE 2011 EHR, practice management and interoperability technology, combined with HP's hardware, will provide customers with a complete EHR that has clinical, financial and administrative functionality, HP said.

HP's hardware and Greenway's certified EHR give providers the data they need, said Chris Mertens, VP of healthcare in HP's Personal Systems Group. "Physicians can spend more time delivering better care than having to worry about their IT needs."



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