OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe know that 2013 isn’t over yet, but still: West Health has been all about investing in medical device interoperability in 2013.

Back in March, West Health funded the creation of the now frequently sited report titled “The Value of Medical Device Interoperability.” This influential report got the industry’s attention last spring, as it boldly stated that improved “interoperability between medical device systems in hospitals could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings.”

More recently, on September 18, the Gary and Mary West Foundation (a sister institute to West Health) provided the initial grant funding to create the Center for Medical Interoperability Inc. This San Diego-based center will be “led by hospitals and health systems to help medical devices become interoperable,” according to an article in the San Diego Business Journal.

We applaud West Health for its investments in medical device interoperability and its overall goal of lowering the cost of healthcare. As West Health works to standardize the ever-disparate medical device industry, we’ll continue to provide the device integration solutions that bring device data—regardless of manufacturer—to the medical record.

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HouseCallOldHouse calls were prevalent in the 1930s; by the 1980s, they had all but disappeared. Now, in the 21st century, house calls seem to be making a comeback.

A nicely written piece by Ezekiel J. Emanuel that appeared in The New York Times Opinion Pages early this month touts the return of delivering care in patients’ homes. According to a study referenced by Emanuel, roughly 4,000 physicians conducted more than two million house calls in 2010 alone.

Why the resurgence? House calls, as Emanuel notes, are incredibly cost-effective—especially when compared to emergency room visits. Here’s the even better news: when combined with technology, house calls become even more cost-effective—a fact that has not escaped the private sector’s attention.

“Companies like Microsoft and Costco provide…house calls to their employees in the Seattle area,” writes Emanuel. “Carena, a private company under contract for the service, sends out doctors or nurse practitioners to assess the situation with the assistance of computer software.The software uses algorithms to help them differentiate between cases that are safe to handle at home and those that require the emergency room.”

According to Emanuel, treating someone who needs care—but not an emergency room—via a house call (or even a virtual house call via webcam) is a no brainer. But Emanuel also notes that urgent-care situations (like cuts and fevers and stomachaches) only account for about “40 percent of the nearly 130 million annual visits to emergency rooms.”

So what about the other 60 percent? What about those who suffer from heart conditions or diabetes or dementia? Those who struggle to make the transition from hospital to home? Those who are readmitted within days of having been discharged?

Emanuel feels that house calls and in-home care can be effective in these more chronic-care scenarios as well. The federal government agrees with him. “The Affordable Care Act now imposes penalties on hospitals that have high readmission rates for conditions like heart failure and pneumonia,” writes Emanuel. “To avoid the penalties, hospitals are increasingly deploying nurses on these types of house calls.”

As we move—as a nation in the 21st century—towards an increase in in-home care solutions, more and more medical and data-capturing devices will live in patients’ homes. Physicians and nurses, as well as those responsible for remote monitoring, will need access to the data in those devices to make informed care decisions. As the lines between hospitals and homes blur, iSirona will be there—extracting device data and making it available for decision makers—at any point of care.

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Some people just get it; Dale Sanders is one of them. In a post he recently authored on healthsystemCIO.com, Sanders refers to data as “one of the most valuable” assets in any healthcare organization. Why? This from Sanders:

“If we accept the assertion that healthcare is a knowledge delivery industry, it is our obligation to exploit the data assets in our environment to augment and optimize that knowledge.”

Simple, right? Gather the best information you can, and use it to make the best care decisions you can.

So how do we gather this information? How can hospitals leverage “the data assets” in their facilities? A major step toward data utilization is medical device integration—the automation of the process by which device data is collected.

Imagine, for a moment, a 500-bed hospital. Imagine 500 patients. Imagine the critical devices—from ventilators to heart rate monitors to dialysis machines—to which they are linked. Imagine the unceasing flow of data generated by those devices. Now imagine clinicians transcribing and keying in all of that data into the electronic medical record (EMR) by hand.

Medical device integration automates this process by funneling (often via software and connectivity channels) the data generated by medical devices directly into the EMR. The benefits of this automation are profound. From a workflow standpoint, clinicians are relieved of an incredibly tedious and time-consuming task. From a data standpoint, the quality of the information in the EMR improves; transcription errors are eliminated, and device data becomes  available—in real time—for clinical decision making and/or analytics.

In this way, MDI helps hospitals leverage device data and become deliverers of accurate information and knowledge-based care. Want to learn more about the benefits, costs, and implementation of medical device integration? Click here for a free white paper.

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inc500The 2013 Inc. 500 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies is out, and iSirona has made the cut. Again. Last year, the company secured the No. 5 spot for the healthcare category and the No. 82 spot overall. And the growth hasn’t stopped.

To compile this year’s list, Inc. looked at a company’s percentage of revenue growth from 2009 through 2012. Boasting an impressive three-year growth rate of 2,092%, iSirona remained high on the list this year. In addition to its overall ranking of 201, the provider of medical device connectivity solutions was named the 14th fastest-growing private company in healthcare.

“It’s an incredible honor to be named to America’s most prestigious entrepreneurial list for two years running,” says iSirona CEO Dave Dyell. “Our continued and explosive growth can be attributed to our unique, software-based approach to medical device integration—and to the growing number of hospitals and health systems that recognize the value our solution brings to the healthcare industry.”

Medical device integration has been around for quite some time, and it has always provided some value within the healthcare environment—such as reducing patient documentation time and improving data accuracy. However, adoption of first generation MDI solutions was slow because of high costs and functional limitations.  Today, second-generation MDI solutions, like iSirona’s, have overcome many of these obstacles—making device connectivity a priority for an ever-growing number of hospitals and health systems.

The annual Inc. 500 list is important because it provides the most comprehensive look at the private companies driving the U.S. economy. Indeed, many companies that have made the list in past years have become household names, including Microsoft, Timberland, Vizio, Intuit, Jamba Juice, Oracle, and Zappos.

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iSirona’s client services team offers hospitals implementation flexibility, round-the-clock support, driver development, product testing, and true partnership.

Special thanks to our own Robby Entrekin, director of client services; Carl Averion, technical solutions engineer; Katrina Voigt, project manager; and Patrick Leonpacher, chief operating officer, for their help in making this video. Also, we’d like to thank Less Films for the great production work.

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A single photo or a line or two of text can often capture the essence of an issue or situation more perfectly than 5,000 words or a whole album on the matter ever could.  That’s certainly the case in the above photo, titled “Vigil for Dad,” which was shared on Flickr by user Jere Keys.

Similarly, a paragraph from “The Importance of Interoperability—From a Son’s Perspective,” a piece written by HIT writer Dan Bowman and published by FierceHealthIT, has the same efficiency:

“My mother is lucky her condition wasn’t worse. I can’t imagine how things might have turned out had her doctors needed access to her records in a matter of minutes instead of days.”

Bowman’s words, like Jere Keys’ photo, remind us just how important accurate, timely patient data can be. That data matters because it can improve the efficacy of the care given to those we love.

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isirona-best-places-to-work_phOutside Magazine recently published its 2013 “Best Places to Work” list, and iSirona snagged the number 28 spot. The list recognizes U.S. companies that enable employees to pursue active lifestyles while also supporting their social and environmental contributions.

This from Outside Editor Christopher Keyes:

“We’re proud to publicize the efforts of these 100 companies. They each show a real commitment to creating active, healthy work environments and put a premium on innovative benefits. Year after year, Outside’s Best Places to Work program demonstrates that America’s most successful companies are the ones that consistently promote true work-life balance for their employees.”

This from our own Auston Conrad, manager of culture and talent:

“From taking meetings outside at our bayside office to participating in company sponsored charity events like this year’s 5K Mud Run, iSirona employees clearly appreciate the healthy work-life balance iSirona so heartily supports. And in the first half of this year, we grew from 105 employees up to 150—a 43 percent increase—which means now there are even more people who get to enjoy one of the best places to work in America!”

And finally, from iSirona Founder and CEO Dave Dyell:

“I say all the time that if you take care of the employees, they take care of the company. At iSirona, it is our employees’ commitment to a culture of innovation, good health, and social responsibility that drives our success.”

I’d like to add my own personal thank you to the iSirona management and staff. Our workplace culture is important; thanks for keeping it that way.

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Earlier this month, Audie Cornish, journalist and co-host of All Things Considered on NPR, interviewed Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the national coordinator for health information technology, on the merits of electronic records.

It was a relatively short interview, lasting just over 5 minutes. Cornish went right after Mostashari, the fed, and the HIT community’s “subsidized” dreams—just as any good journalist should.  She drilled Mostashari on data security and “software bugs.” She made the much ballyhooed point that there is no proof that electronic records are improving care. She decried the inefficacy of HIT systems that can’t (or won’t) talk to each other—all this before the four-minute-mark of the interview.

So what do we—a team of HIT professionals—like about the interview? How it ended.

Near the end of the interview, Mostashari made a crucial point that our company knows to be all too true: that even the best of IT solutions fall short in the absence of training. This from Mostashari in the last minute of the interview:

Well, the key thing is that you can’t just plop in technology. You’ve got to really work with the people and the processes. You’ve got to work with the training, and you’ve got to look at the workflows that you’re doing and not just repeat the same process—broken processes that you were doing before.

Mostashari got the last word, we feel, by pointing out that technology’s shortcomings in healthcare settings are often the result of inadequate implementation and training processes. That’s why iSirona offers more training surrounding our HIT implementations than any of our competitors.

You can read the full transcript or listen to the interview in its entirety on NPR’s web site here. iSirona clients are welcome to attend our next training event, which will be held on September 24.

 

 

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Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN) just released the 2013 Most Wired list, which recognizes U.S. hospitals and health systems for excellence in IT. Most Wired recognition is based on HH&N’s annual Most Wired Survey, an industry standard benchmark study designed to measure the level of IT adoption for operational, financial, and clinical performance in health care delivery systems.

This year, more than a third of the hospital field took the survey, and over 250 hospitals and health systems made the list. And that’s good news for the health care industry. It shows that a large number of U.S. hospitals and health systems are focused on building robust clinical information systems.

But getting wired is just the first step. Next, hospitals must figure out how to use the IT they’ve adopted to improve patient care. “Probably the biggest challenge that everybody faces is connectivity across the continuum,” says Suzanna Hoppszallen, H&HN Senior Editor.

“We are pleased to see that a good number of the hospitals and health systems on the 2013 Most Wired list are using iSirona’s device connectivity solution,” says iSirona CEO Dave Dyell. “iSirona clients are harnessing the technology they’ve adopted to improve patient care. With iSirona’s device integration software, timely and accurate device data can be moved—from any care setting across the continuum—back to the hospital’s clinical information system.”

iSirona clients on this year’s Most Wired list include Hunterdon Healthcare System in Flemington, New Jersey; Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Pine Bluff, Arkansas; King’s Daughters Medical Center in Ashland, Kentucky; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York; Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Nemours Hospitals in Wilmington, Delaware; Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus; Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta; and University Health System in San Antonio.

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bpc-logo2_1Earlier this month, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) joined business and health leaders to launch the CEO Council on Health and Innovation.

Chief executives of some of the nation’s largest employers (including The Coca-Cola Company, Turner Broadcasting System, and Bank of America) are participating in the new council, which aims to identify and share the strategies and best practices that can improve the health and wellness of employees—as well as the quality and cost-effectiveness of care.

“The private sector has a large stake in both the quality and cost of care, given that private insurance funds about one-third of the nation’s total health care expenses,” said Senator Daschle in a BPC press release. Daschle, along with former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, will advise the council moving forward.

Founded in 2007 by former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell, the BPC is a non-profit organization that drives “principled solutions through rigorous analysis, reasoned negotiation and respectful dialogue.”

Congrats to the BPC—the only Washington, DC-based think tank that actively promotes bipartisanship—and all the business and policy leaders involved.

 

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