How intelligent systems partners are chipping away at high healthcare costs

Posted By Kristin Flandreau
Americas Business Group Lead

The U.S. spends about $2.8 trillion annually on health expenses. That’s about $8,915 per person and amounts to 17.2 percent of gross domestic product. These numbers are astounding! 

The West Health Institute, a medical research organization, has identified the lack of medical device interoperability — the ability of medical devices and healthcare systems to seamlessly communicate and exchange information — as one source of high healthcare costs. It reports an opportunity to save up to $30 billion per year, if the vision of a connected healthcare marketplace can be realized.

I’m pleased to say that one of our intelligent systems partners, Omnicell, has built an intelligent platform for its solutions that provides interoperability between electronic healthcare record (EHR) applications and Omnicell’s automated medication dispensing cabinets. (For those unfamiliar with the healthcare space, an EHR is a collection of information about an individual patient.) 

I asked Jennifer George, director of channel marketing at Omnicell, to break this down for me and explain what it means for health providers.

“Formerly, if a nurse was looking at clinical information within the EHR and then needed to administer medications to patients, he or she would have to walk to the automated dispensing cabinet (ADC),” George says. “After logging on to the ADC, the nurse could access the patient medication data to validate the prescription or check for any updates, and then remove the needed medications. However, while at the ADC, the nurse could not readily access information, such as lab values, from the EHR. This lack of connection between the EHR and ADC creates extra steps and can lead to safety issues.”

Omnicell made a breakthrough by integrating ADC functions within the EHR. It seems simple, but the interoperability makes a huge difference!

“A nurse can now open the Omnicell application from within the EHR,” says George. “The nurse can confirm the medications to be administered to each patient, make sure lab values are in line with what they should be, check for any safety issues and then remotely issue the medications, which will be queued at the cabinet. This streamlined workflow lowers costs, since it’s faster, more efficient and safer.”

This kind of innovation from Microsoft partners will help chip away at exploding health costs.

We will highlight this leading-edge intelligent system in the Microsoft booth #4749 at the upcoming HIMSS14 show in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 23–27, 2014. You can also visit Omnicell at HIMSS in booth #902 or in the HIMSS Intelligent Hospital Pavilion and Interoperability Showcase.


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