Advancing the Digital Health Care Agenda

Michael Vizard

Regardless of political persuasion, just about everybody can agree that the processes through which health care is delivered could stand some improvement. Of course, the solution to the health care crisis in this country requires more than throwing technology at the problem. But at the same time, new technology creates the opportunity to change the processes in ways that will ultimately drive down costs.

With that goal in mind, Hewlett-Packard today rolled out updates to its Digital Health solutions portfolio that focus primarily on tools for enhancing collaboration across health care professionals. As noted by Baldur Johnsen, worldwide health care provider segment lead for HP's Enterprise Business, there are often hundreds of people involved in the care of any one patient. The more people involved, the greater the likelihood that there will be a mistake. It's those mistakes that tend to drive costs higher.

The updates to the HP health care portfolio include greater support for mobility, unified communications and real-time collaboration around information, versus the company's first offering, which was focused primarily on the underlying IT infrastructure needed to provide the foundation for creating a digital hospital.

Taken together, HP s Digital Hospital 2.0 provides a reference architecture for creating a collaborative working environment inside the hospital, while a new Virtual Health Management System provides the framework for managing ongoing patient care inside and outside of the hospital. HP is also making available a new solution center in Plano, Texas, where health care organizations can test and see demonstrations of HP technologies for the health care sector.

While politicians debate, the good news is that health care reform continues with the rise of accountable care organizations (ACO) that essentially have a more transparent approach to providing health care services that is putting pressure on the rest of the health care industry to be more efficient. It may take a while for the market forces that these ACOs have unleashed to ripple through the entire industry, but given the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., it's more than likely that ACOs armed with analytics will have the most lasting impact on permanent health care reform.

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