Technology Rollout to Hundreds of Remote Physicians Supports Healthcare Network’s EMR Expansion Strategy
NEW ORLEANS —February 26, 2007— InterSystems Corporation today announced that Partners HealthCare System, Inc. has reached a major milestone—delivering electronic medical record (EMR) access to the majority of community physician practices in the Partners network.
“Although less than 20 percent of primary care physicians nationwide have adopted EMRs so far, about 61 percent of community-based primary care physicians in the Partners integrated delivery network are now accessing EMRs via a system built on InterSystems Ensemble®”, said Paul Grabscheid, InterSystems Vice President of Strategic Planning. The announcement was made at the HIMSS ‘07 annual conference and exhibition.
InterSystems is a leading provider of innovative database and integration software. The InterSystems product line includes the CACHÉ high performance object database, Ensemble rapid integration software and the HealthShare health information exchange platform.
Boston-based Partners HealthCare is an integrated healthcare network that includes multiple major hospitals with more than 5,000 practicing physicians attending to four million outpatient visits and 160,000 admissions annually.
Enabling High Performance Medicine
Recognized throughout the country for its innovative use of information technology, Partners has established a series of enterprise-wide corporate initiatives under the banner of “High Performance Medicine”. EMR adoption by all community physician practices in the Partners system is one of these critical projects.
“We’re focused on expanding the use of EMRs in our ambulatory practices because of the value they provide in enabling quality of care and patient safety,” said Cindy Bero, CIO for Partners Community HealthCare, Inc. (PCHI), part of the Partners network. “EMRs have been accessible within our academic medical centers for several years,” she said. “Now, we’re disseminating the EMR software throughout our community physician population, which represents about 40 percent of our total physician network.”
Overcoming Tough Challenges
Providing EMR accessibility to the widely spread community-based physicians presents several major challenges, according to Bero. “There is typically a financial investment required for new hardware, software and communication networks. And, of course, there are associated training costs for staff members who haven’t previously utilized an EMR,” she said.
“Also, there is the need to provide connectivity to physician offices located throughout Eastern Massachusetts,” she continued. “Most community physicians aren’t working in large group practices or on a single, totally wired campus,” Bero observed. “Locations with just one or two physicians aren’t uncommon, and integrating these very small groups means some special scenarios. Each has an independent source of patient demographic data, billing information and clinical information, all of which is on separate networks and servers. This means that literally hundreds of data sources may have to be integrated to achieve the vision of an EMR for a single patient record with a variety of care providers,” she said.
Partners selected Ensemble as the integration engine to resolve the technology challenges. “Ensemble offers an easy-to-use environment for developing and deploying interfaces very rapidly while also delivering the advanced functionality needed for complex integration projects,” noted Partners CTO Steve Flammini. “Ensemble’s visual transformation editor enables us to create complex, XML-based transformations in a matter of hours. This is key as most of the work in creating interfaces involves changing one vendor’s data formats into another’s,” he said.
Success is in the Numbers
The Ensemble-based EMR rollout to community-based physicians is delivering impressive results. “We’ve been actively executing this program for about three years,” Bero said. By the end of 2004, 20 percent of remotely based primary care physicians in the Partners network had adopted an EMR. That number climbed to 34 percent in 2005 and reached 61 percent by the end of 2006. “These numbers are especially impressive in a market where overall national adoption of an EMR by primary care physicians hovers below 20 percent,” noted Bero.
With a 100 percent EMR adoption rate as an ultimate goal, Partners continues to actively encourage geographically remote physicians to make the transition from paper records. “EMRs are key tools for improving care quality and safety and we’re delivering that message to every provider in our network,” Bero said. “We’ve also negotiated contracts with payers that provide incentives for adopting EMR technology,” she added. “Our business strategy has been multi-pronged…part financial, part technical and part cultural…and it appears to be succeeding.”
“EMR connectivity and accessibility are at the core of the connected healthcare strategy that is a top priority across the U.S.,”” said Trevor Matz, InterSystems Managing Director, Application Integration. “Partners is a leader in enabling affiliated providers to access EMRs throughout an integrated delivery network. We consider it a privilege to work with them on this strategic enterprise initiative.”
For 29 years, InterSystems Corporation has provided innovative products that make applications more valuable. InterSystems CACHÉ® is a high performance object database that makes applications faster and more scalable. InterSystems Ensemble® is rapid integration software that enriches applications with new functionality, and makes them connectable. InterSystems HealthShare™ is a platform that leverages existing healthcare applications to rapidly create a regional or national health information exchange. With world headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, InterSystems has offices in 22 countries and provides support to customers in 88 countries.
InterSystems is the premier provider of healthcare application platforms, with its products used by most of the world’s major hospitals and labs, including America’s 10 best hospitals as rated by U.S. News and World Report. For more information, visit InterSystems.com.
About Partners HealthCare
Partners HealthCare System, Inc. (www.partners.org), located in Boston, is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in 1994. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners HealthCare System also includes community hospitals, specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities.
Partners HealthCare is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization. Partners’ institutions, including Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, consistently rank among the best hospitals in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report.
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