This year, MSFT & GE are joining hands in announcing collaboration plans for an IT project in healthcare called “Caradigm”, and now this has officially commenced. Microsoft and General Electric are considered giants in their own industries. This seems to be a promising association, and experts predict that it will unite information technology and healthcare effectively.
In Caradigm, each of the companies have a 50% stake, ensuring that both companies will be actively involved. The main purpose of merging these two giants is for combining the healthcare industry experience of GE, and the ability of Microsoft in developing data platforms. Michael Simpson CEO of GE stated that both companies working together have a better placement for providing excellent quality solutions, compared to working alone.
So, what is the purpose behind Caradigm? The project of Caradigm was designed to assist healthcare providers in dealing with huge levels of data, which are needed on a daily basis. It is quite difficult to manage individual patient’s data, especially when they receive treatment at a different facility. Manual execution of such a job would involve a lot of effort and time, and of course patience. Secondly, the job’s monotony decreases the efficiency of a worker with time.
With Caradigm, doctors/nurses will not have to sift through numerous files for every patient that comes for a checkup, and the information can be retrieved much faster. For healthcare facilities, the system also provides accumulating data from diverse sources and storing it at a single place for easy accessibility. The burden on administrative workers and clerical staff would be greatly reduced by this. Such staff can then focus their efforts to provide better doctor support, so that more patients can receive treatments.
The end picture is to provide better quality of healthcare services to people at a reasonable cost. Once data is managed in a better way, healthcare providers will be facilitated in improving their service standard, and reduce costs as well.
Most healthcare providers face the main problem of the inability in categorizing the patient’s data during digitization. Different techniques are employed by various facilities for sorting records of patients. A problem is created when the patient shifts to a different facility or wants a second opinion.
Apart from this issue faced by various health providers, certain hospitals like utilizing various information sorting systems. This deficiency in compatible cross systems creates additional problems. Caradigm’s goal is overcoming these obstacles and ensuring proper integration of data between various providers.
For doing this, GE and Microsoft have purchased information exchanges and platforms. Amalga, expreSSO, and Vergence were acquired by Microsoft. These platforms will make it possible to view patient’s data from a single database by health providers, which are stored on various systems. EHealth and Qualibria exchanges were purchased by GE, which has information on the best solutions for system merging, and interconnecting them.
For the best use of resources, GE will be using Amalga platform for combining Qualibria, eHealth and Amalga.
Presently, the joint initiative of MSFT and GE is still quite in its early stages. For analyzing, the level of effectiveness of the system, and figuring out whether it can achieve its final goal will take more time. Caradigm, presently has offices in various cities including Andover, Salt Lake City, and Chevy Chase.
The company headquarters is centered in Bellevue. One fourth of the total 600 employees, are currently working at this headquarters. The plan of the company in the next few months is to increase the work force by another 25%. Theoretically, when a company is small, it has independence and freedom for better operations, compared to the two massive companies that have stakes in it.
The mega companies formed smaller enterprise for delivering services, as they felt it would avoid possible clashes in working methods and/or opposing ideas. This move has its advantages, and critics as well, who feel that best practices and quality standards for data handling of healthcare industry should be provided uniformly. This approach is negated, as one has to approach Caradigm to handle such data.
However, it seems that the healthcare industry is still going to take some time for establishing standards for storage and data management. Microsoft and GE have a massive influence, and Caradigm can be shown as the best viable option by them at present, until health providers are able to find, and universally agree upon, a better and lasting solution in future.
Shane writes for i3 business solutions, which is a company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan that provides healthcare IT solutions