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Study to explore care coordination automation

January 14, 2014
by Richard R. Rogoski
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A five-year study being conducted by the Gary and Mary West Health Institute (WHI), Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) and West Corp., will try to identify specific technologies that can automate patient care outside of hospitals and physicians' offices. The study will explore ways to provide real-time feedback and care guidance for patients, while alerting healthcare professionals of health-related problems before they escalate.

Slated to begin in early 2014, the study will evaluate new ways in which patients and clinicians can connect and interact by translating medical treatment guidelines into automated clinical and operational workflows. "Every segment in health care--payers, health systems, physicians or pharmaceutical companies--recognizes that the healthcare process must be streamlined and expedited in a way that is patient-friendly, similar to the way consumers easily buy books online from Amazon," said Tom Barker, CEO of West Corp., in a press release. "Our objective is to facilitate communications around patients, care coordinators and health care providers by leveraging valuable content, personalization, speed, privacy and scalability."

Researchers hope the study will reveal ways that providers can combat excessive trips to the emergency room and reduce preventable hospital readmissions. "So many patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension unnecessarily cycle through emergency rooms and hospital beds, which are the most expensive places to receive care," said Nicholas J. Valeriani, CEO of WHI in a press release. "Through this collaboration, we are seeking to create an automated system of care coordination so providers can intervene before medical problems escalate. This will benefit both patients and the health care system by avoiding medical interventions, costly admissions and readmissions."