Oracle, HealthSouth to Create ‘Digital Hospital’
Alabama-based HealthSouth and software developer Oracle Corp. are expected to announce today a joint venture to create a "digital" hospital that "closely integrates information technology with patient care, to automate systems, reduce paperwork and improve quality," the Wall Street Journal reports. The digital hospital is to be built from the "ground up" in Birmingham, Alabama, with HealthSouth handling its development and construction and Oracle charged with integrating the technology. Though HealthSouth and Oracle representatives have declined to discuss project details, they did say it will give physicians remote Internet access -- from any location-to patients' records. According to the Journal, the effort is another example of a growing trend among large employers and health care providers to utilize IT to cut health care costs, eliminate paperwork and reduce medical errors. Already, HealthSouth, which the Journal says is "getting back on track" after last year's "dismal" financial results, has automated its company-wide purchasing and inventory-control systems using a Web-based system. According to the CEO, the system has helped HealthSouth reign in costs because it enables him to monitor -- real-time -- whether the company's various locations are abiding by discounted purchasing agreements. The Journal reports that those familiar with the venture say it could lead to further collaboration between the two companies (Carrns, Wall Street Journal, 3/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.