TMCnet - World's Largest Communications and Technology Community



tmc logo
April 2008 | Volume 11/ Number 4
The VoIP Authority

Bridging the Worlds of Healthcare and Information Technology

Writing on his blog recently, Rich Tehrani broke the news that in response to numerous requests, and building on the success of our Global Online Community program, TMC (News - Alert) is launching a brand-new Vertical Communities program.

According to Tehrani, “These communities would be created to help companies reach their target audience in vertical markets such as healthcare, education, hospitality, government and financial services,” to name but a few areas.

One of the first areas that we’ve marked for coverage is the healthcare vertical.

I recently attended the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference and exhibition, the annual event for transforming healthcare through information technology. The show featured hundreds of vendors covering the whole gamut: from bar code solutions for tracking patients and inventory, to business continuity and disaster recovery vendors touting their services, to electronic medical records companies to network solutions, nurse call applications, and privacy/security solutions.

I met first with Michael Carr, executive vice president at IgeaCare Systems (News - Alert), Inc., a company that manufactures telephony-based communication systems for the healthcare market, with a variety of solutions targeting that particular space. I wrote about IgeaCare in last month’s VoIP Authority column, so I won’t dwell on their offerings too much here, but I would like to officially thank Carr for ushering me around the massive exhibit hall at HIMSS and introducing me to many of the key vendors whose offerings bridge the worlds of IP communications and healthcare.

Carr pointed out that, “communications plays a critical role in the successful delivery of healthcare information to help speed the decision making process to affect a successful result. . . It’s about time. . . Efficiently getting the resources to the patient makes all the difference in achieving a successful outcome.”

And it needs to be pointed out that in healthcare, a successful result is quite possibly more important to the individual in need of service than perhaps in some other applications, like, say unified messaging, where a slightly delayed e-mail message is not likely to be the difference between life and death. Of course, some editors, on deadline, might argue that point.

One of the companies Carr introduced me to was GlobeStar Systems, who provides software offering called ConnexALL, which, as the name suggests, integrates a variety of information streams, allowing healthcare staff to more efficiently appraise a situation and act accordingly, again with an eye towards delivering a successful result.

IgeaCare leverages GlobeStar’s ConnexALL software engine under and OEM arrangement, offering it under the apolo Event Notification System brand. According to GlobeStar, ConnexALL is designed to help healthcare organizations manage their communications more effectively, by directing, locating and prioritizing information and integrating with third-party proprietary and open systems, collecting real-time event data, and subsequently creating intelligent, closed loop workflow processes based on each organization’s unique requirements, providing instant communications, saving time, and enhancing patient care.

While that sounds like a mouthful of marketing, the goal is clear: to provide healthcare professionals with the information they need, in an efficient, timely manner, so that they can get on with the job of helping patients.

Carr then introduced me to Liz Hervatic, the senior director of healthcare business development (commercial and public sector sales) at Alcatel Lucent. Alcatel Lucent has been a major player in the space where healthcare meets IT for some time. In fact a year ago, at their Enterprise Forum, one of the keynote speakers was a gentleman by the name of Dan Drawbaugh, the chief information officer for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), who spoke of his experiences working with Alcatel Lucent.

In late 2006, Alcatel Lucent was awarded a multi-year contract valued at $300 million to lead an IP network transformation project upgrading UPMC’s communications infrastructure, which included upgrading UPMC’s wired and wireless data infrastructure, enterprise telephony system, and contact center platforms and applications to a new converged IP infrastructure, thus creating a single voice, data and video network. They also enabled the development of advanced communications features that benefit patients and physicians.

Alcatel’s healthcare solutions enable practitioners to focus on helping the patients. As Hervatic says, the goal is to “. . . get the right resources to the bedside and act as that critical first link.”

A single column cannot cover the many companies I met with at the recent event, so watch for next month’s VoIP Authority column where I will address a number of exciting applications from other vendors.

Perhaps the key takeaway from my sojourn is that there are a lot of talented, dedicated people working on bringing the next generation of information technology to bear on the healthcare market, all with a single goal: to deliver a higher quality of care, faster and more efficiently, by reigning in the information flow, and harnessing the power of IT to direct the necessary actionable information to the healthcare professionals who need it most, enabling them to do their job, which is to help increase the quality of life of those in their care. IT

– Greg Galitzine (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director for TMC.

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents

Today @ TMC
Upcoming Events
ITEXPO West 2012
October 2- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
The World's Premier Managed Services and Cloud Computing Event
Click for Dates and Locations
Mobility Tech Conference & Expo
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas
Cloud Communications Summit
October 3- 5, 2012
The Austin Convention Center
Austin, Texas