Following is a guest post from IBMer Lonne Jaffe:
At the HIMSS 2010 conference in Atlanta this week, the topic of improving collaboration in the healthcare industry will be front and center. At IBM, we believe software that can enable hospitals, physicians, patients, health insurance companies and others to share information, work together and collaborate more effectively is critical to decreasing healthcare costs and improving the quality of care.
For example, Boston Medical Center and caregivers across the Boston HealthNet are using collaboration software from IBM and IBM Business Partner Carefx in a new eReferral system, enabling primary care physicians to share information with specialists both before the referral and after the specialist visit. Previously, as is the case in many health systems, referrals were tracked by generating paper and faxes, often getting lost in the process. The result? The time to get an appointment with a specialist has declined from 90 days to less than 10 days in many cases.
Another way to improve collaboration is to get a more comprehensive view of the patient. IBM announced today it has finalized the acquisition of Initiate Systems, a software vendor that has played a key role in improving data integrity and collaboration across the healthcare industry. The software can sort through billions of patient records at a time, determining each unique individual from another with a similar name, so doctors can get an accurate and complete view of every patient. More than 1,700 healthcare organizations and some 40 health information exchanges (HIEs) across the world use the technology to uniquely identify patient records at all points of registration and care across various systems and different organizations.
This acquisition also brings to IBM technology for collaboration between physicians and hospitals, facilitating the flow of important information such as referrals and lab results. It is also another example of what we consider smarter healthcare – helping healthcare organizations everywhere capture, share, analyze and act on information in a connected, coordinated and systematic way.