GE Healthcare has announced that it has opened up the architecture of its Centricity EHR (electronic medical record) software to allow physicians at various stages of care-whether it's a primary care physician, an assisted living facility or a specialist-to share information using the same EHR product, whether it's by GE or another vendor.
In early 2011, GE will start testing the interoperability of Centricity at Capital Region Healthcare, in Concord, N.H., and Decatur Memorial Hospital, in Decatur, Ill. The expanded sharing functionality will be available commercially later next year.
In July, GE introduced Centricity Enterprise 6.9, which features these continuity-of-care capabilities.
Previously, providers would need to use separate EHR applications for each health care environment, according to Jim Corrigan, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare IT. Unlike other industries such as retail banking or financial services, health care tends to keep information in "silos," which complicates information sharing, Corrigan told eWEEK.
"In order for information for that patient to be shared, health care IT vendors have required delivery networks to rip out the existing health care IT product that they have and put in that company's product," he explained.
Centricity is able to extract discrete data for allergies or various medications into the EHR. "The information-our allergies, our demographics, our family history, some of our dental information-needs to move at the speed of the patient through the delivery system," Corrigan said.
For GE, the focus is interoperable connectivity to multiple health care environments using the same software application, according to Corrigan.
Corrigan noted that previously a McKesson EHR product in a hospital might be replaced by a GE EHR in a doctor's office rather than being able to use the same application in all health care settings.
"Now our customers no longer have to make that choice to achieve connectivity," he said.