In healthcare we trust?

I just spent five days in two hospitals.  Not doing marketing research as HP’s Medical Archive solution (MAS) product marketing manager, but as the daughter of someone who needed emergency cardiac surgery a few days ago.  These past five days changed both my family and my perspective as a healthcare marketeer.  After spending years in the healthcare provider industry marketing software solutions for medical image archival storage, I saw first-hand how hospitals can struggle in emergency situations to manage the mix of challenges including patient care and safety, compliance (e.g., HIPAA), and remote doctor collaboration.

In the U.S., HIPAA’s Security Rule (2005) mandates that healthcare organizations have a contingency plan for emergency situations pertaining to paper and electronic personal health information (PHI) records.  If access is not available, then risks to patient safety can rise quickly along with risks of non-compliance.  With the somewhat vague nature of laws like HIPAA, contingency plans can consist of any mechanism that resolves the problem.  But, piecemeal solutions for emergency patient data access can still put patient care at risk with longer wait times and ultimately increase medical image storage management costs.  Here’s how I saw that from the other (e.g., non-marketing) side this week.Last Friday afternoon the local 45-bed Veterans Administration (VA) hospital that originally admitted my father did an echocardiogram (ECG).  This data was part of the acute treatment plan, which included surgery the next day.  As such, clinical value of this imaging study was very high.  A few hours later we were transferred to our city’s leading referral hospital, a 577-bed health system in Northern California and the only level one trauma center in California.  But, guess what wasn’t transferred?  The ECG imaging study.  Only the ECG report arrived at the new hospital.  This trauma center health system covers 33 counties and more than 65,000 square miles for 6 million people.  It’s only 10 miles away from the VA hospital and works hard to achieve a main objective of keeping the region’s preventable death rate at or below 1% (half the national average).  Yet this large hospital doesn’t have the infrastructure to access critical (high value) images that are less than 10 hours old and 10 miles away.  Because of this they were forced to deploy a resource-consuming contingency plan by doing a second ECG the same night.

This contingency plan is within the realm of acceptable per HIPAA and it solved the problem of incomplete patient data.  But it demonstrated the need for hospitals to streamline healthcare IT with a remote image sharing/collaboration environment.  As I discussed in a recent blog entry on best practices to lower healthcare storage TCO a few weeks ago, development of an image management and sharing environment where disparate data formats across locations are neutralized is key to: improving patient care, speeding data access, enabling online collaborative treatment, and improving compliance contingency plans.


HP Information Management Software has been working with image management layer (IML) software vendors to enable HP MAS to be the foundation for unified medical fixed content archival storage across disparate facilities and sites.  With this integration, HP MAS gives healthcare providers enterprise-wide access to patient information from a common repository (e.g., not piecemeal) regardless of the spectrum of imaging applications in the environment.  When clinicians and researchers within or across hospitals can access highly valuable data in emergency situations quickly, they are able to reduce wait times, collaborate faster, improve diagnoses and treatment plans, and meet objectives to keep preventable death rates as low as possible.   For more information on how HP MAS and IML integration can unify your healthcare IT environment, improve SLAs, and facilitate compliance visit www.hp.com/go/mas.


My name is Lisa Dali and I approve this message.

Comments
(anon) | ‎10-19-2009 10:54 AM

Quite inspiring,

I cannot trust the healthcare, someone can go in relatively healthy in little need of life chaging help and come out with the worst super bugs that can deteriate health for years to come, my gran 90 when she contracted a superbug, she was still living alone walking perfectly, she was still independant until she went into hospital for a pretty serious flu... and she hasnt been th same since, she contracted a superbug and now has to live in aa home after she was put into rehabilitation for a year... and she is wheelchair bound... the healthservice is appalling...

Keep up the good work

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