Oracle Offers New Health Care Applications for Data Storage, Analysis

Oracle announced two new health care IT solutions, including a multiple-use data repository for health care data and a health care analytics package, at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference & Exhibition. The new software seeks to provide health care organizations with an end-to-end solution, mimicking Oracle's strategy in other corporate areas. A number of large IT companies, including Microsoft and Google, have also been issuing software products designed to capitalize on the health care industry's needs.

Oracle announced two health care IT applications at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Conference & Exhibition March 1, a venue being used by a multitude of tech companies to introduce their own health care software products.

The two applications include Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base 6.1, a multiple-use data repository for administrative, clinical and financial health care data, as well as a health care analytics package that includes Oracle Healthcare Data Warehouse Foundation and Oracle Operating Room Analytics. The latter offering takes warehoused clinical data including electronic medical records and patient accounting, which can then be data-mined via baked-in business intelligence solutions.

"Healthcare providers have long struggled with effectively measuring clinical quality, operational efficiency and financial performance in a timely and actionable manner," Neil de Crescenzo, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Health Services, wrote in a statement. "Oracle's enterprise health care analytics is designed specifically for healthcare providers to help them unlock the value of electronic health information to enable quality performance and clinical excellence, to drive departmental and operational efficiencies, and accelerate innovation to the point of care."

Oracle Healthcare Transaction Base 6.1 provides "a complete, centralized, and normalized data source for viewing data via a portal or other health care applications," according to a March 1 company statement, which in turn could lower a health care organization's costs and time needed to access data.

Oracle is also emphasizing its health care analytics package as customizable for particular health care organizations, particularly its Oracle Healthcare Data Warehouse Foundation. The company's Oracle Operating Room Analytics is capable of analyzing case volumes, utilization rates, turnover times, and some 200 pre-built operational efficiency measures.

These new releases suggest that Oracle is attempting to extend its strategy of providing integrated, end-to-end software platforms to the health care IT space. The company's integration of Sun Microsystems, a $7.4 billion deal originally announced in April 2009, will likely contribute towards this goal by allowing Java and Solaris to be more fully integrated into its existing product lineup; several of its major releases in 2009, notably Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g, are similarly aimed at providing end-to-end platforms. Oracle's stated near-term goal is to challenge IBM in the systems arena.

Other IT companies are using the HIMSS conference to debut new products and alliances.

On Feb. 24, Microsoft and Eclipsys announced a deal that would integrate the latter's Sunrise Enterprise suite into Microsoft' Amalga Unified Intelligence System, providing a more robust data-storage and analytics platform. Microsoft has been pushing Amalga as a solution that provides health care workers with a single point of access to information from across a health care organization's system.

"Blending Eclipsys' leadership in physician adoption and sophisticated clinical and decision-support workflows with Microsoft's leadership in interoperability, data extraction, authentication and context management will open up new choices and opportunities for health care organizations needing to make the most from their existing IT infrastructure," Peter Neupert, corporate vice president of Microsoft Health Solutions Group, wrote in a Feb. 24 statement. "Eclipsys and Microsoft offer complementary strengths to health care enterprises looking to overcome the restraints caused by legacy health IT applications that block the strategic exchange and use of digital health data."

Microsoft has also been expanding its HealthVault technology, a cloud-based depository for patients' medical information. Unveiled in October 2009, HealthVault is now diametrically positioned in competition with Google Health, which allows patients to store their health care information and share it with both doctors and trusted contacts.