GE: helping healthcare providers look beyond their own walls

If there's one thing constant in healthcare, these days, it's change. Providers are being driven to transform the way they deliver care, with programs such as meaningful use and ICD-10 as just a couple drivers.

With the push for providers to change comes the need for vendors to help them be as effective and efficient as possible.

According to Jeanine Banks, GM of cloud solutions for GE Healthcare IT, "We're seeing significant opportunity for software, cloud-enabled business models and analytics capabilities to help reduce waste in the system, given changes in the way patients are receiving care."

For example, Banks said surveys show that 70% of providers believe that within three years, they will be supporting three or more different value-based models while 40% of payers predict over the same timeframe, value-based models will support more than half of their businesses, which highlights a major shift away from traditional fee-for-service arrangements.

Another major development, Banks said, is the focus on population health. An increase in patients confronted by chronic conditions paired with an aging population is causing the number of patients to outpace the growth of available care. That trend is going to continue, she noted--as a result, GE focuses on helping providers deliver better care in less time to more patients.

As Banks sees it, providers are still "spending too much time stitching data together,such as radiologists, who can spend nearly 20% of their time looking for images. New software and analytics capabilities can help providers improve productivity by 18% or more.

GE has taken a "four pillarapproach to help providers address their need for integrated care solutions.

The first pillar involves enterprise-wide imaging, tools to help providers make faster, more confident diagnoses. For Banks: "Imagine what would happen if clinicians everywhere had access to clinical intelligence, drawing on anonymous historical findings from millions of diagnoses stored in the cloud to help inform decisions."

The second pillar looks at the care delivery management process. Rather than seeing the process as individual episodes, Banks said GE emphasizes looking at the entire care pathway: "Having capacity to handle increased patient volumes is one thing., but it's also essential to pay close attention to overall patient satisfaction."

The third pillar involves developing effective population health strategies to lower the cost of managing chronic disease. In partnership with Caradigm, GE's solutions enable transparency through 'one patient, one record,helping providers predict clinical risks their patient population faces and engage patients to take a more proactive role in their health.

The fourth pillar focuses on financial management and looking at an entire health system, improving collections and driving profitability. GE's customers deal with challenges like how they can take on risk while delivering solid patient outcomes or ensuring accuracy in clinical and financial reporting.

According to Banks, healthcare is changing so rapidly that it makes predicting the future difficult, but ensuring success in the future is: "really about figuring about how best to coordinate care by connecting people, machines and data. There's going to be much more automation in how care is leveraged.So provider organizations will need to tap into relevant insights in order to get the right signals to caregivers.

While organizations have been making investments in individual IT tools to tackle aspects of integrated care, Banks observed that "if customers can free up more of their IT budgets by embracing business models like cloud computing, the industry can leverage inherent interoperability and ubiquitous access to move beyond their institutional walls. They could seek ways of collaborating that can further help reduce waste."

"Once you can measure and see success,she said, "you can begin to focus on the key outcomes you need to deliver for your organization and ultimately for patients."

Blog originally posted on HIMSS Future Care.