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IBM Announces New Healthcare Industry Solutions Lab in China


BEIJING - IBM announced the opening of a Healthcare Industry Solution Lab in Beijing, where IBM will work with hospitals and rural medical cooperatives to make healthcare “smarter” as the Chinese government enacts widespread healthcare reform.

Experts at IBM’s new Healthcare Industry Solution Lab -- which is one of eight IBM solution labs in China -- will work with healthcare providers to adopt digital medical records, which improve patient care while reducing cost and medical errors.

IBM, a leading provider of health information technology around the world, also announced new software solutions to accelerate the adoption of electronic medical records in China. Such smarter healthcare solutions help improve patient care by integrating data - such as family and personal medical histories, lab results, diagnoses and financial information - that sits in isolated and disparate systems across hospitals and health centers. This will allow health-care practitioners to more deeply understand which treatments and medications work best for specific diseases and medical conditions. Through IBM’s software, hardware, services and R&D expertise, providers can better serve patients through collaborative, coordinated health systems based on open industry standards.

Much of China faces inaccessible and expensive medical care as large hospitals are overburdened with patients and community healthcare providers remain stagnant. In 2008, the number of Chinese patients seeking emergency medical help totaled 5.1 billion nationwide, and out-patient and emergency medical expenses topped RMB 846.69 billion -- or USD 123.88 billion. The economic reform program announced by the Chinese government calls for 850 billion yuan (USD 124 billion) for initiatives that will make healthcare services safer and more affordable for China’s 1.3 billion citizens by 2011.

China also faces the challenge of integrating “modern” medicine with fast-growing traditional Chinese. Between 2000 and 2005, the number of traditional Chinese medicine hospitals increased from 2,654 to 3,009, and the number of students in the discipline jumped from 77,000 to 385,000. IBM has begun working with Guang Dong Hospital of Chinese Medicine -- China’s largest Chinese medicine hospital which receives about four million patient visits a year -- to create an electronic patient record system that blends input from both Chinese and Western medicine.

“The Chinese government’s initiative around healthcare reform will create a unified network that connects the nation’s scattered system of hospitals and health centers,” said Dr. Matt Wang, Vice President, IBM China Development Labs. “IBM’s new China Industry Solutions Lab will help local and regional health organizations shift their focus to coordinated, integrated care. Smarter healthcare, enabled by the latest health information technology, will lead to social and economic benefits, and to better healthcare, for the citizens of China.”

IBM new Smart Healthcare Software solution includes:

Regional Healthcare Information Network

IBM’s SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) Community Health Service technology integrates information contained in electronic medical records and public health institutions spread across China’s cities, districts, counties and community service centers. This “community health information system” can enable health care providers to coordinate care across regions and connect hospitals and community clinics. It can guide patients to the nearest hospital that best suits their needs, or enable rural patients to be treated via telemedicine.

Clinical and Health Analytics and Sharing

This helps hospitals analyze and share information between different departments within the hospital and among other institutions under a regional hospital group. It creates a single source of clinical, administrative and research information that gives doctors a 360-degree view of a patient’s treatment and outcomes. Medical professionals can make more accurate and timely decisions about patient care and also aggregate clinical data from across a region, leading to more effective medical research.

Healthcare Collaboration Platform

IBM’s software enables doctors and nurses to better collaborate and access patient records and diagnoses. Leveraging the latest Web 2.0 technology, medical personnel can discuss a patient’s condition in real-time and collaborate as a team using common data and information. The technology can also help patients make appointments, access their medical records and files, and seek online medical advice from their doctors.

Cloud-enabled Smarter Healthcare

Cloud computing - a new model for delivering and consuming IT as a service - connects healthcare systems and devices within IBM’s cloud computing environment. Healthcare providers can share data contained in electronic medical records while not having to purchase or maintain in-house technology, which drives operational efficiencies. Cloud-enabled Smarter Healthcare taps into IBM’s expertise in virtualization, automation, Web services, open standards and internet-scale computing.

For more information, go to smarterhealthcare


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