Golden Living Kick-Starts Post-Acute Health IT With Microsoft HealthVault and Amalga UIS Connection

Golden Living and Microsoft Corp. announced the companies will collaborate to give caregivers single-point access to the diverse healthcare information necessary for providing ongoing care after patients leave the hospital and to give patients and their families better tools for managing patients’ health.

Golden Living is the first post-acute care organization to adopt Microsoft Amalga Unified Intelligence System (UIS). This relationship will allow Golden Living to benefit from the same technology used in some of the country’s most advanced hospitals.

While there is an abundance of data in healthcare, there is little ability to compare, contrast and learn from the data, which is saved in separate systems and segregated by incompatible formats. Amalga UIS will help Golden Living combine distinct information from a variety of diverse internal and provider sources, including hospitals, public and private payers, independent physicians, and an array of post-acute services.

The targeted result is more effective management of chronic disease, improved clinical outcomes, and the substitution of early intervention and prevention for costly hospitalization.

“The potential is there for significant improvements in healthcare quality and cost efficiency — exactly the kind of results that are being sought in the healthcare reform,” said Golden Living president and CEO Neil Kurtz, M.D.

While the use of electronic health records (EHRs) is becoming more common in U.S. hospitals, availability is extremely limited outside the acute care setting. Americans who seek ongoing care after hospitalization use a variety of healthcare providers to promote recovery or treat chronic conditions. Few of those providers ever see the hospital patient record, however, and fewer still are linked electronically in a way that promotes coordinated, high-quality care.

Golden Living selected Amalga UIS in part for the ability to link a patient’s personal health information stored in Microsoft HealthVault with the patient’s data stored in Golden Living systems. HealthVault (http://www.healthvault.com) is an online personal health application platform that lets people gather, store and share health information online.

While patients hold the key to their HealthVault accounts and control how their personal health information is used, they can now authorize Golden Living to augment their existing information with additional personal health data from a range of post-acute providers.

“By using Amalga UIS to bolster the information in HealthVault, we’ll empower the very patients who stand to benefit most from storing, sharing and utilizing health information,” said Kurtz.

“Think about the demographics and psychographics of the post-acute patient,” he added. “Many are learning how to live differently — either coping with chronic conditions or making lifestyle changes to prevent a recurrence of the condition that prompted hospitalization in the first place. Most need to share information with multiple healthcare providers and family members, who become increasingly important in the post-acute care process or as the patient ages. With Amalga and HealthVault, we are able to help facilitate this important information exchange.”

Kurtz noted that Amalga UIS also will enable Golden Living to integrate patient care across its own businesses, including skilled nursing, long-term care, rehabilitation therapy, assisted living, home health and hospice. As patients move from one Golden Living care setting to another, their health information follows them and does not have to be redone.

“This ‘patient-centric’ approach, coupled with our geographic reach and full integration of post-acute services, enables us to make a real difference in the way post-acute care is delivered in America,” said Kurtz.

“Managing post-acute care presents tremendous challenges both to families as a loved one moves in and out of different, disconnected care settings, and to the U.S. healthcare system as the population of elderly continues to grow rapidly,” said Peter Neupert, corporate vice president, Microsoft Health Solutions Group. “Golden Living is taking a leadership position in post-acute care by using technology to connect everyone involved — doctor, nurse, hospice worker and family caregiver — giving them the ability to access and share complete, up-to-date information about the patient. The free flow of information, with the patient at the center, is critical to driving meaningful improvements in our health system.”

Amalga UIS addresses a common and critical challenge of healthcare providers — integrating vast amounts of clinical, administrative and financial information that flow in and out of disparate information systems, and tailoring that information for use by physicians, analysts, laboratory technicians, nurses and administrators. Amalga takes advantage of health enterprises’ investments in existing health IT solutions and makes it possible for the entire organization to gain quick access to data and turn that information into critical knowledge that facilitates better decision-making and improved patient outcomes.

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