Print 12 comment(s) - last by Spuke.. on Nov 2 at 2:50 PM

GE hopes to work its way into a developing market

More time must pass before the United States can entirely switch to a digital health record system, but additional companies are hoping to accelerate the adoption of e-health records by offering new technologies and solutions.

General Electric is the latest to become involved in e-health, as the company unveiled the eHealth health care division.

Doctors and hospitals have more than $19 billion in incentives to switch to digital health records -- which should help accelerate the process -- but format, cost, and security issues remain.

GE's first monetary investment will be $90 million -- eHealth has a web portal, storage security software, and the LifeSensor personal health record program.  The company will offer eHealth to international doctors and hospitals, allowing people outside the U.S. to also offer e-health records.

Future features planned include patient health updates that alert doctors when their patients have been admitted to or released from the hospital.

Even though the federal government and some doctors strive to go digital, many patients still want to be assured the files will remain secure while in the cloud.  There have been several high-profile medical record data compromise cases in the past 12 months that highlighted security issues.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is now putting together a national e-health record database, which may outline how other companies modify their e-health systems.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

No surprise here
By chruschef on 11/1/2009 11:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
GE is simply gearing up to get government contracts once whatever form of healthcare bill passes through congress & the senate. There have been no doubts that they've eye balling these contracts for a while now, and GE's broadcast company NBC has been pushing for Obama and "obamacare". Very few private medical corporations are going to be switching over to digital patient profiles/records simply because of the horrifying costs.

personally, I don't trust GE or any company with that kind of info and I'm not sure why anyone else would. my physician told me that to switch over to digital records would cost his office alone ~100,000$ alone. also I don't see what value digital records add, computers are wonderful but pen/paper is more realiable. Pen/paper can't be hacked either.

I really don't like the idea of the government holding large amounts of personal information, I'd rather government know as little as possible about me. doesn't the government have more important things to do, like cut spending?

RE: No surprise here
By swizeus on 11/1/2009 11:19:49 AM , Rating: 1
Big brother needs your data, one of the surveillance systems out there. Liberal ? Yeah, so not, your personal life is being virtually controlled man.... and when it comes to capitalist view, it comes with a hefty price, and who should pay that ? Right, The USERS, in the name of technological advancements and simplifications.

RE: No surprise here
By chruschef on 11/1/2009 11:40:37 AM , Rating: 3
why should tax payers pay for this? we're not the users, doctors would be the users and they don't directly gain from this system at all. Pen/papers works just fine.

I'm not commenting at all on big brother, I'm simply pointing out that if you wouldn't tell your neighbor you most certainly wouldn't tell the government. the government needs to take on less roles in our life, and shouldn't ever be responsible for our lives.(obamacare)

I'm not a liberal, I'm a libertarian/conservative.

RE: No surprise here
By othercents on 11/1/2009 12:21:32 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you all understand who has access to your medical record. Only the doctor and you. If you are a minor then your guardian, but that's it. No one is supposed to be able to get your information unless it is an express written consent by you. This includes the government.

The government is trying to help the hospitals become more efficient by moving to electronic systems. Systems that will allow you to request your records for your new doctor and get them in hours instead of days. The more efficient the hospital runs the less expensive things will be for you. This is definitely the first step to a universal healthcare system, but I also expect insurance companies to be happy if there was only one system that they had to deal with on a day to day basis.

Keep in mind most hospitals already have systems in place, but usually they are a hodgepodge of different systems that were not created to work together and don't function the most efficient way. Which means when someone walks into a hospital it takes at least 30 minutes longer to process you and get you looked at.

Granted I doubt your local doctor is going to change anything unless they are part of a larger system of doctors. Kaiser already uses the Epic system which at this time is the most advanced system available.


RE: No surprise here
By Spuke on 11/2/2009 2:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
Systems that will allow you to request your records for your new doctor and get them in hours instead of days.
Doesn't even take hours. At Kaiser Permanente (HMO), there's a computer in each examining room where the doctor can log in and access your records while he's looking at you. He can even prescribe medication and send it right over to the pharmacy. No paper prescriptions to take over there (and possibly lose). Just show up with your Kaiser card. They're totally electronic. MUCH, MUCH quicker and WAY more efficient.

RE: No surprise here
By Hakuryu on 11/1/2009 11:36:06 AM , Rating: 3
I worked for a company that made a program for hospitals to run medical bills - it would check for errors like codes for procedures that would not be paid by insurance, fields not filled in, wrong our outdated information, and other things.

Hospitals would constantly send us work orders to change things based on changing standards, and with those orders would come large sets of bill data for testing purposes. There were around 40 programmers and 20 QA people constantly working on updates.

Records are already digital to an extent (they did not type up thousands of them into these files to send to us). Hospitals enter them into their systems (like the one we provided), run them to find errors before submitting, then print and send them. We had rooms and rooms of QA records in paper showing fixes and that those fixes worked via page after page of results.

So, one hospital bill may actually account for a hundred pieces of paper, bill information is already digital (til it is submitted), and believe me - the system is a mess. Will a fully digital system work? I don't know, but it can't hurt to try it... the current system is a waste of paper and time. It may cost alot to implement, but savings will also be made.

RE: No surprise here
By chruschef on 11/1/2009 11:59:24 AM , Rating: 3
I understand your point, and digital records probably would speed things up, but the case in point is GE announcing it's entering this business. It's entering the business for government contracts. I mean really, what does GE do that's even related to this?... GE's businesses have never even been related to file networks, the closest thing I can think of is their MRI equipment.

this isn't going to be commercially sucesful for a while. if doctors were going to make a bunch of money from completely digitalizing their records, they probably would have done it by now. Over time, I think that the medical industry will digitalize almost all records. the current system is definitely a wreck, but that doesn't mean the government needs to fix it; which is what this actually is. State governments however, I believe could test these systems out.

RE: No surprise here
By brshoemak on 11/1/2009 9:44:32 PM , Rating: 5
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. There I said it. You can bring politics in it all you want, fine - but from what you have posted you have no idea about the actual matter being discussed.

The transition to electronic health records can save time, money (in the long run), and most importantly, lives. Pen and paper is great except when - oh you were treated a hospital in NY where they found you had a severe reaction to a common painkiller. Fast forward to a visit to the ER after an accident in Jersey and where are your records? What are you allergic to? That information is in a manilla folder on someones shelf. If they have EHR software they could bring that up in seconds. Oh well, hopefully this common painkiller won't do any damage.

The cost of EHR software is so high for many reasons, one being that a set of standards concerning data fields, formats, transportation, etc. has never been finalized so each company must put thousands of hours of research into rolling their own solution. This cost is passed on to the customer. A new company has to reinvent the wheel if they want to enter the market. Also, no EHR software company wants to compromise with any other company in terms of standards since they all believe their way is the right way and they know that standards would turn their software into more of a commodity item which would lower the cost. Great for doctors offices, bad for their shareholders.

I personally don't think EHR is ready until some sort of federal mandate comes out that forces everyone to agree on what data should be stored, what field names to use and then let the software companies differentiate themselves with features. Currently though, you can't imagine how hard and costly it is to interface the different EHR software packages across different practices and even within the same practice. You want your demographics software to talk with your lab software - $40,000 for the interfacing code alone. You want your radiology software to interface with your demographics software - $60,000.

The high cost of an EHR implementation comes from few players, no standards of data, high cost of entry, and costs to interface different systems inside and outside of the practice.

Whether you are talking Meditech, Allscripts, NextGen, IDX, Orchard, Cerner or whoever - once a standard data format system is created the costs of implementing the system would plummet and it would become much more affordable.

There is a lot more I could say on the topic but I have other things to do - like not blaming Obama and the government for a problem that all parties involved in the healthcare industry have been working on solving for the past 20 years. Standardizing electronic health records is not a new topic that Obama thought up and chances are it will still be an open topic well into the next administration when there is a Democrat/Republican/Independent/Libertarian/Flying Spaghetti Monster/Anarchist as the next president.

eHealth Ontario
By Hoser McMoose on 11/1/2009 6:50:40 PM , Rating: 3
GE should come up here to Ontario (Canada that is), apparently there's bucketloads of money to be made off of eHealth! Our horrendously incompetent government managed to spend $1B on eHealth for... NOTHING!

Word of warning to the rest of the world pursuing e-Health systems, hold your government officials accountable so you don't make the same mistakes we did!

New Slogan
By Spookster on 11/1/2009 1:28:52 PM , Rating: 2
"We bring good things to hack".

Patient of Danard Lilly
By shep737 on 11/1/2009 5:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
I am actually a patient of a Software company called Danard Lilly in California that was making e-health software. I joined them back in April and their software has worked really well and very cheap. The only difference is its a online pain assessment software that stores the health records online. So pretty much works the same way. I just hope that GE will follow in similar footsteps.

A couple of things
By davidvthokie on 11/2/2009 5:46:52 AM , Rating: 2
1) over 9000 people die *every year* due to incorrect prescription information. EHR systems have DUR checking and other safeguards that assist in preventing this.


2) EHR systems better assist physicians in having their patients participate in clinical trials.

3) EHR systems help physicians do referrals to each other, and maintain a single clinical chart for the patient.

4) How many people actually know what is in their medical chart? EHR systems often allow for direct patient access, and further allow patients to ask questions of their clinician or their staff.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki