Siemens Innovations ’09 – Opening Session

This mornings opening session for Siemens Innovations ’09 was delivered by Janet Dillione, CEO of Health Services Siemens Healthcare. Not surprisingly, the opening speech was focused on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and healthcare reform. Healthcare information technology took center stage from about an hour.

Some items of interest to me were:

  • Based on the presentation slides, it appears that Siemens is betting on CPOE being the gate through which all hospitals will have to travel to qualify for “meaningful use” healthcare dollars. However, Dillione does not necessarily believe that most hospitals will be able to accomplish CPOE implementation by the end of 2011. This statement is particularly interesting when you consider that Siemens has a unique insight into their customer base, and would love nothing more than to install CPOE in hundreds of healthcare systems across the United States. It makes me wonder how hospitals will choose to handle CPOE over the next 18 months.
  • Soarian will be the focus of Siemens implementations over the next year as they build the foundation for CPOE with better clinical functionality and documentation. Dhillone spent a lot of time hyping the speed and stability of the most recent Soarian release.
  • Doing more with less was a common theme throughout the opening remarks. Focus was placed on hospitals doing a better job of managing patients with chronic healthcare conditions like diabetes, asthma, and heart failure by making better use of “clinical people”, specifically physicians and nurses. That’s right, pharmacists were never mentioned.
  • Not one time did Dillione mention pharmacists or advancing their line of pharmacy based products. I found this a little disappointing as pharmacists have been shown to be cost effective when used appropriately. In addition the Siemens Pharmacy system is tied into many other Siemens products, including CPOE, BCMA, admitting, financials, and lab.
  • “Integration” is out and “Interoperability” is in. Time was spent discussing the need to make Siemens products interoperable. I think we need to develop some standards for much of the software available in healthcare before claiming interoperability. As far as I’m concerned all Siemens products should be plug-and-play out of the box when utilized with other Siemens products. The problem exists when a third party vendor needs to tie into your primary system (i.e. Siemens Pharmacy, Siemens MAK, Siemens Soarian, etc.). To the best of my knowledge basic guidelines may exist, but there is certainly no standard. Did I hear someone say “cloud”? Well, I certainly think that’s an approach we should be investigating. It’s difficult to ignore interoperability when all the information is centrally located and all you have to do is create access to it.
  • Sessions I’m attending today include: Siemens Pharmacy/Med Administration Check Solutions Update, A Detailed Approach to Workflow Data Collection and MAK Design, and Barcoded Medication Administration: Is It a Luxury or Standard of Care?.

    More to follow…..

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