Tech Giants Take the Stage at HIMSS

Major technology companies, including Sun, Cisco, Siemens and Kodak, are using the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference to court the health care community.

About 21,000 health care IT professionals have gathered this week in Dallas for this years HIMSS conference. And the top technology companies have shown up too to appeal to this industry gathering focused on the successful integration of information technology into health care.

Sun Microsystems Inc. attempted to make the biggest splash: CEO Scott McNealy was scheduled to deliver an opening keynote address but was unable to attend (Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers was also slated to speak at the show); the company sponsored the "Sunshine Summit," a forum intended to promote health care information technology; and it announced several new health care customers and technologies.

Leading up to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Societys conference, Sun announced health care deployments in facilities including the Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma, the Veteran Affairs Hospitals, the Childrens Hospital in Denver, Queens Medical Center in Hawaii, the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Oregon Health Science University.

"Hundreds of hospitals and medical centers are now using technologies from Sun, including Sun Ray ultra-thin clients, RFID and the Solaris operating system," said Michael Haymaker, global health care industry manager at Sun. "Additionally, Sunshine is healthier than ever with more than 1,000 active members working with Sun to share innovations and best practices to improve the industry."

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Siemens Communications Inc. announced at HIMSS the U.S. availability of its HiPath Healthcare Solution HiMed, a portal that features a bedside monitor providing patients with entertainment, service access and important medical information options. For doctors and other health care personnel, this solution serves as an efficient, real-time source of medical and record-keeping data.

It is designed to serve as a patients central source for clinical records, nurse calls, telephone services and entertainment options (including television, video, Internet surfing, games and radio). When controlled by health care personnel, the system converts to a point-of-care access device to essential patient data.

Siemens Soarian health information solution, originally introduced in 2001, is central to the companys offerings. The companys total Soarian customer base represents more than 240 U.S. health care facilities and 19 international sites. Siemens is also demonstrating its patient safety, image management, community health care network and revenue management solutions.

"Health care is about to undergo a major transformation enabled by IT," said Tom Miller, president of the IT Division of Siemens Medical Solutions. "It will emerge in the ability to capture and analyze all points of information to develop best practices and, ultimately, add to the body of clinical knowledge. Siemens is at the forefront of creating technology that will lead to more affordable care, with better prevention, earlier diagnosis, targeted therapies and improved clinical outcomes for every individual patient."

Eastman Kodak Co. is also using HIMSS to target the health care market, which it says is a fast-growing portion of the companys revenue, at 10 percent compared with the 6 percent for overall company revenue. The company launched Kodak Carestream solutions to add to its existing health care offerings.

Carestream is a method for managing information and images to create image-enabled electronic medical records. It can enable surgery, pharmacy, cardiology and other departments in health care facilities to combine images and data and improve their operations.

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