Feature: GE debuting clinical decision support system

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A new clinical decision support system dubbed ECIS (Electronic Clinical Information System) is GE Healthcare’s newest addition to its health IT portfolio. Part of its Healthymagination initiative launched in May, GE on Wednesday announced the new CDS at a press conference in New York City, hosted by GE CEO Jeff Immelt and the new members of the Healthymagination advisory board of physicians and others that includes two former U.S. Senate majority leaders, Bill Frist, MD, and Tom Daschle, who both spoke on the importance of healthcare innovation to drive up quality and drive out unnecessary cost.

The mantra of the day was cost, quality and access—utilizing IT and other technologies to drive down cost, increase quality and increase access to more Americans, all the while getting better data into physicians' hands.

The new CDS, set to be branded under GE Centricity and officially launched at the HIMSS meeting in March 2010, was developed with Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, and draws on the health system’s three decades of clinical informatics experience. The ECIS pilot launches next month at Intermountain Healthcare.

The clinical knowledge tool, which offers information and intelligence-based, point of care decision-making, allows more bedside decisions to be made based on best practices–thereby helping to improve patient outcomes and efficiency in the clinic, ultimately helping to reduce costs, GE said. Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., also collaborated on developing the system.

Once deployed, ECIS will enable even small, remote healthcare organizations and clinicians to evaluate their current approach to patient care against constantly evolving clinical practice standards. The end result is that patients will benefit from current treatment options. Prior to this development, the flow of information from "bench to bedside" through traditional means of medical journal publication, continuing education classes and symposia, could take upwards of 17 years, GE said.

"Using information technology and data to help clinicians and hospitals provide excellent and efficient care is a cornerstone of GE’s Healthymagination initiative to help increase quality and access to healthcare while aiding cost reduction," said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare IT. "This decision support solution gives doctors the information they need at their finger tips, as they need it, to aid in making informed treatment decisions. Connecting them to proven, research-driven decision support can help improve patient care and save time and money."

The new system will offer a “set of dashboards and tools that will integrate with our EMR as well as others,” Wanchoo told CMIO.net. He added that GE sees the CDS being used in the community hospital setting, as well as in larger facilities.

It will allow healthcare organizations to evaluate patient care against quality measures such as those identified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and physician organizations that set standards for a variety of health conditions. Once these practices are made available within the system, they can be shared across the health system, enabling community hospitals access to the same evidence-based practices as large institutions and academic medical centers. The objective is to alert physicians earlier to intervene in a patient’s care to enable a better outcome, and thus share best practices.