Exogen makes waves with Blue Ocean
Exogen unveiled Blue Ocean, an enterprise, real-time operational intelligence platform designed to change the way hospitals and clinical departments collect, measure and utilize key performance indicators (KPIs), at the 2008 Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine (SIIM) meeting in Seattle. 

Blue Ocean’s patent-pending technology provides live, operational performance metrics by aggregating disparate, data streams across the hospital enterprise and leveraging web technologies to deliver actionable information, the company said.

The software application is designed to deliver “information to the right person and the right device immediately, with visually-rich graphics,” Milton Silva-Craig, president and CEO of Exogen, told Health Imaging News.

Silva-Craig said that the web-based, thin-client technology, whether it is deployed within a department or enterprise-wide, makes proactive decisions in-process to resolve issues. He stated that Blue Ocean recognizes “the ebbs and flows of process issues, and is able to automatically adjust to these variations, continuously allowing for easy data extraction.”

In the development process, the company identified 65 KPIs within radiology, and 45 within cardiology. These KPIs can be used to track modality utilization, such as pediatric ultrasound, the total wait-time for patients, and report turn-around times. The tools can be used to develop a reimbursement model, or “as a carrot to empower one’s healthcare workers,” Silva-Craig said.

Based on the 65 metrics identified for radiology, the company has determined that 10 to 12 are vital to an organization, and will be sold as a pre-configured Blue Ocean solution in many cases, eliminating the necessity to customize the product for a particular institution, according to Silva-Craig.

The application is able to aggregate data from disparate information systems, which allows for the capability to provide alerts to users and enable prevention of issues, he said. Blue Ocean has closed-loop alerting, so “the system then knows that the appropriate person got the message,” Silva-Craig explained.

The company said that two pilot implementations took place at:
  • Aurora Health Care: a Milwaukee-based, not-for-profit healthcare provider, including Aurora St. Luke Medical Center, a stroke-certified institution; and
  • Johns Hopkins: a Baltimore-based academic medical institution, which deployed Blue Ocean within its radiology department.
“Blue Ocean will trigger an alert if a patient has been waiting longer than our enterprise-defined standard or trigger an urgent notification to alert staff that interim process steps are delayed and that report turn-around time on a critical test may exceed patient care guidelines,” said Jake Nunn, metro regional director of radiology at Aurora St. Luke’s.  “By getting such information in real-time, we can immediately intervene to correct the situation and further, address the process issues for improved performance.”

By monitoring the pilot implementation process at the two institutions, which took six to eight weeks, Silva-Craig said Blue Ocean has provided the company with “great illumination,” indicating more areas for the product’s growth. He also noted that the company would eventually like the implementation process to take less than a month.

Exogen, a wholly owned subsidiary of Technology Solutions Company, was launched in December 2007 and is focused on healthcare providers and manufacturers, “leveraging what we have gained from other industries,” according to Silva-Craig.

Blue Ocean is scheduled to be commercially available in the third quarter of this year.