Siemens Moves into Health Information Exchange

February 24, 2012
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ImageEXCLUSIVE POST – Siemens Healthcare arrived with a major presence at HIMSS and major announcements as well. The first was the acquisition of an Health Information Exchange developer, MobileMD. MobileMD is a unique HIE solution – cloud-based and four dimensional.

ImageEXCLUSIVE POST – Siemens Healthcare arrived with a major presence at HIMSS and major announcements as well. The first was the acquisition of an Health Information Exchange developer, MobileMD. MobileMD is a unique HIE solution – cloud-based and four dimensional.  The  four dimensional health information exchange includes care, service, economics, and technology. Because it is cloud based, the exchange is flexible and reduces the burden on client systems in hospitals. It has connectors to clinical data sources, state and regional HIEs, CMS and CDC. As a cloud-based solution with a full set of HIE tools, it frees organization resources and provides a cost effective alternative.  Tom Pacek, CIO of South Jersey Healthcare is a a big proponent of MobileMD:  “With MobileMD and Siemens we can deploy cost-effective, standards-based technology to make information available in a timely manner for our community physicians. This becomes a tremendous value-add for South Jersey Healthcare.” This comprehensive solution will be an important addition to the Siemens portfolio and will strengthen MobileMD’s position in the market for both small practices and large health systems like Main Line Health in Philadelphia.

Also announced this week by Siemens is Soarian Financials, another comprehensive solution for healthcare  that includes: a contract engine, an enterprisewide master person index, and a claims engine and editor. The unique aspects here are a workflow centric process which reduces costly re-work of  claims by proactive claims management. It is designed to reduce denials by point of service processing including self-pay balances and medical necessity processing. One of the most costly aspects of claims processing and collection for healthcare providers is not providing support for addressing these issues up front, requiring rework like addressing denials and collecting self-pay and deductables. The other Achilles’ Heel of patient financials is using multiple systems which lack integration or require expensive interfaces. A single technology for the revenue cycle throughout the care cycle has real advantages. It also avoids the cost of maintaining licenses for multiple systems and relying on multiple vendors for support. It is difficult to find a comprehensive tool set for this essential function and the Seimens’ product has practice payment variance tools, including business rules and worklists to drive follow-up and underpayment recovery. Integrated business intelligence and reporting are essential in the current payment environment and this product includes a dashboard for key metrics (especially helpful as a C-level view) and 300 standard reports for all level of organizational performance. While financial management is not my area of expertise, integrated systems that promise this level of service are typically a relief to organizations who have patched together legacy systems for years.

With its traditional strength in the imaging space, it is not surprising that Siemens is moving imaging to the cloud with cloud-based vendor-agnostic Image Sharing & Archiving (ISA(1)) solution. A growing expense for most hospitals that sees no end is imaging archiving. Digital imaging is a storage hog and a costly one as well. Reducing the ongoing capital expenditure of maintaining on-site image archives by moving to a secure, cloud-based archive is something many organizations are looking at. While the cloud may not be a solution for EMR data which many institutions would prefer to host in their own data centers, imaging is a stepping stone to cloud services for hospitals who are being challenged by space, storage, and cost of maintaining and expanding data centers. Siemens chose to partner with Dell Computers for this venture. They are also unveiling a new approach to delivering and maintaining its syngo Workflow RIS. Predictable costs are key in the tight margin hospital business and this service will provide an annual assessment including business analytics could help customers better understand how their organization is currently using syngo Workflow, identifying ways to make improvements through an examination of the current software configuration.

Siemens, with is already extensive global healthcare presence, it moving to broaden its base of technologies through an initiative called Agenda 2013. This is a two-year global initiative to further strengthen the Healthcare Sector’s innovative power and competitiveness. Specific measures will be implemented in four fields of action: Innovation, Competitiveness, Regional Footprint, and People Development. From the looks of these announcements at HIMSS and extensive display at HIMSS, this is moving quickly through strategic acquisitions, new product offerings and extending services of existing products.

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