Most people intuitively recognize that among the reasons that health care costs are so high are that labor-intensive paper-based processes still dominate the industry.
The offices of many primary caregivers -- doctors -- still lack IT automation largely due to costs and culture.
GE Healthcare is taking on this last bastion of paper-based processing with its Centricity Advance software-as-a-service platform that automates many of these processes.
By automating processes in the doctor's office, there's no need to later convert paper-based forms into electronic health records. This not only dramatically reduces costs over time, it also reduces errors.
A SaaS application also eliminates the need for doctors to invest in applications and systems they typically don't have the expertise to manage.
While <strong>most of the argument concerning health care IT lately has focused on "meaningful use" of electronic records</strong>, the issue is becoming less about the technology and more about re-engineering processes within the health care sector.
Jim Corrigan, vice president and general manager for GE Healthcare IT, said that even with all the progress already being made thanks to legislative initiatives, the doctor's office has been the most resistant to automation because previous approaches required too much investment and expertise.
By automating the front end of those processes, GE Healthcare wants to accelerate the business process re-engineering that need to take place in the back office. To aid that effort, Chittaranjan Mallipeddi, vice president and general manager for GE Healthcare IT as a service, says the application is designed around an open XML standard to make it easier to share information across multiple health care systems that will be running in the cloud and on premise.
In an industry where proprietary IT systems have been the norm for more than 30 years, that in itself would be a major revolution.