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ActiveHealth and IBM Pioneer Cloud Computing Approach to Help Doctors

Sharp Community Medical Group to Build Patient-Centric Practice with Collaborative Care Solution

IBM and ActiveHealth Management, an Aetna subsidiary, on Thursday unveiled a new cloud computing and clinical decision support solution that will enable medical practices, hospitals and states to change the way they deliver healthcare, providing better quality care at a lower cost.

IBM and ActiveHealth Management worked together to create the Collaborative Care Solution that gives physicians and patients access to the information they need to improve the overall quality of care, without the need to invest in new infrastructure.

Patients often have to carry their health history information with them from visit to visit. Doctors don't always have the information they need when they need to quickly make patient care decisions. The Collaborative Care Solution addresses these issues by gathering patients' health data from multiple sources to create a detailed patient record.

The solution employs advanced analytics software to provide an innovative approach to patient care in which physicians can easily access and automatically analyze a patient's condition. By combining information from electronic medical records, claims, medication and lab data with ActiveHealth's evidence-based clinical decision support CareEngine and delivering it through an IBM cloud computing platform, doctors will be able to deliver more complete and accurate decisions about patient care. This should reduce medical mistakes and unnecessary, costly treatments.

"'Our health care system needs solutions that can help physicians collect, connect, analyze and act on all the information available to improve a patient's health. Our solution makes this possible in real-time at the point that care is delivered," said Greg Steinberg, M.D., CEO of ActiveHealth Management.

This solution can help reduce spending on ineffective treatments and unnecessary tests. According to a recent study by Thomson Reuters, approximately $800 billion is wasted each year in the U.S on health care considered ineffective. It can also help provide better insight for treating patients with chronic conditions such as coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure and diabetes, which account for 80 percent of all healthcare costs.

With all healthcare data and IT resources managed in a cloud environment, the system will enable the coordination of patient care among teams, so doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, aides, therapists and pharmacists can easily access, share and address information about patients from a single source. The solution can also show trends in how patients are responding, for example, to treatment for chronic asthma or adhering to drug regimens and automatically alert doctors to conflicting or missed prescriptions.

For one fixed monthly fee, healthcare organizations have access to all the tools and services without having to make significant upfront investments - avoiding the challenge of updating systems when clinical guidelines or reporting requirements change or when patient loads grow.

Additionally, the solution provides advanced analytics that help physicians or entire healthcare organizations measure their performance against national or hospital quality standards. Demonstrating higher quality, lower-cost care is a crucial step in helping physicians obtain higher reimbursement rates from government payers and insurance providers. The solution not only helps meet current meaningful use criteria, but more important, supports physicians in meeting the more rigorous requirements in the future.

Sharp Community Medical Group in San Diego will be using the Collaborative Care Solution to change the way physicians and nurses access information throughout the hospital group's multiple electronic medical record systems to apply advanced analytics and clinical decision support to help give doctors better insight and work more closely among patient care teams.

"The relationship among Sharp Community Medical Group, IBM and ActiveHealth is really about transforming how we deliver patient care," said John Jenrette, M.D., CEO for Sharp Community Medical Group. "The current state of medicine today is one of paper records, fragmentation and lack of patient information at the right location and at the right time. Unfortunately, this is medicine's current state in most organizations and physicians offices. The patient is not engaged in their own health care and not connected to their clinical information and doctors in an effective manner. The work we are undertaking will create a system that is patient centric. It will provide the connection among primary care physicians, specialty physicians, hospitals and patients to achieve improved clinical outcomes while reducing costs."

Using Collaborative Care, hospitals and medical practices can achieve the following:

  • Connect, analyze and share a wide range of clinical and administrative data from disparate systems and sources via a health information exchange or "health Internet" to reduce errors and inefficiency
  • Automate the measurement, tracking and reporting of clinical quality performance at the patient and practice level using the Active CareTeam(SM)
  • Improve patient care through the use of evidence-based, clinical decision support powered by the ActiveHealth CareEngine®
  • Transform practices and assist them in achieving NCQA Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home status and becoming Accountable Care Organizations
  • Engage patients in their care through the use of the MyActiveHealth(SM) patient portal that provides for secure electronic communications between the health team and their patients

"The healthcare industry is under tremendous pressure to reduce costs while improving quality of care," said Robert Merkel, vice president and healthcare industry leader, IBM Global Business Services. "Collaborative Care assists in achieving these goals by providing advanced clinical services that complement EMRs and removing the infrastructure costs by delivering these services through cloud computing."

The solution is built on combining IBM's Health Information Framework, IBM Initiate Exchange and advanced health analytics from Cognos 8 Business Intelligence and predictive analytics from IBM Research with ActiveHealth CareEngine® clinical decision support and the Active CareTeam(SM).

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