IBM Releases Biosurveillance, Quality of Care Software

Created to facilitate clinical data exchange, the software package is designed to appeal to government agencies and hospitals alike and to support their need for detecting useful patterns in health care data.

Early this week, IBM announced it is launching clinical data exchange software for hospitals and health care agencies. Known as WebSphere Business Integration for the Healthcare Collaborative Network, the solution is intended to help health care providers and agencies improve information integration and analysis by providing data to key stakeholders from a system, community, enterprise or single-site perspective.

For more than a year, the system was tested extensively by government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

"The CDC, FDA and CMS each have a different interest," noted IBM Industry Solutions Offering Manager for HCN Michael Stevens. "Through this process we made sure that HCN would handle the different types of information."

Already, the Canadian government has committed to becoming the first customer for the product. The software will be used to set up a biosurveillance system to provide an early warning system of biological threats by analyzing public health data.

Initially, it will be a pilot project in Winnipeg, Manitoba, to develop a comprehensive early warning and response system for biological threats. The goal is to limit the publics exposure to disease and to facilitate a response readiness network for front-line health authorities.

Hospitals and hospital networks also helped to vet the software before its release. The medical communities managed by New York Presbyterian Hospital, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Wishard Memorial Hospital tested and validated the electronic infrastructure.

Health systems, like Wishard Memorial Hospital, used the software to reach into its clinical data to aggregate information and then transmit it to observing agencies in a secure format.

"IBMs new software can translate to reductions in reporting burden costs and increased clarity in outcome analysis, which supports the quality of care delivered to patients," said Indiana University Associate Professor of Medicine J. Mark Overhage. "I see potential for IBMs software to be used in clinical trials and other research opportunities down the road."

Vanderbilt University Medical Center used the software to notify its attending physicians in the case of abnormal lab results of individual patients.

"With all the sophisticated technology found in a modern hospital, the lack of coordination among hospital systems internally and with monitoring agencies seems almost primitive," said Herbert Pardes, president of New York Presbyterian Hospital.

"A seamless, integrated network of information could do as much to protect patient safety and improve patient care as many other medical breakthroughs."


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