Following the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' July announcement of requirements for "meaningful use" of electronic health records, GE Healthcare is rolling out a version of its Centricity Enterprise application that incorporates these objectives. Centricity allows enterprises keep track of patient flow and manage a practice's revenue cycle.
Centricity Enterprise 6.9, which GE released July 20, provides a built-in workflow for consistent care of patients from one facility to another and for inpatients as well as outpatients (described in the medical field as "ambulatory").
The integrated platform achieves the meaningful-use objective of "continuity of care," Frank Pecaitis, general manager for GE Healthcare IT, explained to eWEEK. Patients can be followed by clinicians at any location in a hospital system.
Version 6.9 also adds a registry module to help monitor the flow of patients in and out of medical facilities. The module lets medical professionals set workflow alerts for patients with specific conditions and allows doctors and clinicians to follow the patients over time, said Serene Munroe, GE Healthcare's marketing leader for Centricity Enterprise.
The workflows also incorporate the meaningful-use requirement of CPOE (computerized physician order entry), which allows physicians to enter medication orders directly into the computer to reduce errors.
Centricity Enterprise runs on Hewlett-Packard's NonStop servers, which provide full-time availability, disaster recovery and fault tolerance to 24-hour hospitals and clinics, Pecaitis said.
"It's a highly available, extremely powerful throughput computing technology, and it's a competitive advantage for us in the industry and in the marketplace, in that it can scale to very large institutions as well small enterprises under a hosted model," he said.
Another key feature is embedded decision support, Munroe said. As required by the meaningful use guidelines, the software alerts clinicians and doctors to potential interactions between drugs and allergies. The software also allows medical facilities to use automated discharging of patients based on diagnosis, medication and allergies.
On June 15, GE also announced a plug-and-play SAAS (software-as-a-service) option for Centricity that allows doctors to keep track of patients easily in the cloud.
Companies must implement the government's meaningful use objectives by 2011 to take advantage of stimulus money allotted for electronic health records under HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act).
With Centricity Enterprise, GE hopes to bring wider adoption of electronic records across the health care industry.
"This technology really provides a high degree of success [in] getting clinicians, doctors and nurses to actually use it, and that has been one of the major challenges in the industry," said Pecaitis. "Meaningful use is forcing the hand to get doctors to really use EMRs and do the ordering electronically versus paper and pen."