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IT in healthcare curing the clutter

Phoebe Magdirila and Macel Legaspi | Oct. 4, 2011
Behind the healthcare provided to millions of patients in a hospital lies an efficient system in place that aids in faster communications and information dissemination.

IBM developed its vast healthcare solutions portfolio using advanced business analytics software tapped from recently acquired Cognos and powered by Big Blue storage and servers. "These technologies can directly support key business priorities, provide insights about performance, behaviors, and outcomes, and help deliver care and services more efficiently," adds Del Prete.

IBM sees all these translating to interconnectivity -- making data available to health professionals across various institutions and transforming them into clinical decision intelligence as these could improve patient outcomes and help lower costs of healthcare.

IBM continues to invest around US$6 billion in R&D annually to develop and enhance its products and solutions portfolio. "IBM also plans to set at least 100 of its own experts -- versed in practices such as cloud computing, services research, and analytics -- onto various medical technology projects," Del Prete says.

"The idea of a smarter healthcare is welcomed by the local industry. Local healthcare service providers understand that they need to transform themselves into patient-centered, information- rich organizations," he adds.

More Than Data

Another IT solutions company, HP, also sees growth of images as medical data as a crucial part of improving healthcare operations. The US forecasts diagnostic imaging procedures to cross the $1-billion mark by 2012.

"The need for online medical image archiving and storage has skyrocketed in the last few years, with IT staffers and technicians trying to cope with more data, more patients and more work," says Robin Purohit, vice president and general manager, Information Management, Software, HP. To aid this growth, HP optimizes healthcare IT through its HP Medical Archiving Solutions (MAS). To address the growing medical imaging data, the company has created a scalable solution that is applicable to small as well as to large hospitals and clinics.

With the integration of HP StorageWorks disk storage and Proliant Servers with storage grid software, fast and reliable access to medical images will be possible. With security and privacy features in place, designated departments across different sites may access crucial image of any size real-time without compromising the privacy of data.

"By bringing MAS to the 'masses' -- small and large customers alike -- we have dramatically increased the number of organizations that can benefit from having easy access to the right patient information at the right time. HP is empowering more healthcare providers to improve overall patient care," Purohit notes.

Health Care-As-A-Service

In other cases where there are fewer resources, it's really about making the most out of what is already in place.

Famed for its power to reduce costs and transform application delivery, cloud computing has always become particularly FUD-laced (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) when discussed on the table. Cloud computing still gives a scratchy picture for many organizations especially in the healthcare sector given its sensitivity to sharing of patient information.


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