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IBM and Partners Utilizing SOA Strategy to Help Healthcare Providers Improve Efficiency and Patient Care


ARMONK, NY - 25 Feb 2008: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is collaborating with nine business partners to help healthcare providers, clinics and hospitals improve productivity, increase quality and reduce costs through the use of service oriented architecture (SOA). These partners are all working to develop their latest healthcare applications using the IBM SOA Foundation and supporting a set of open technology and industry standards.

IBM's healthcare strategy is based on the adoption of an SOA approach and the use of open standards and standards-based electronic health records to provide secure and private exchanges of records between authorized healthcare provider and healthcare payer organizations. To achieve these goals, IBM is currently working with clients within the healthcare industry to transform the information delivery processes and related business processes to be more "patient-centric."

Clients who deploy infrastructures based on this strategy can improve the quality of healthcare delivered to their patents while reducing the costs and expenses of providing these healthcare services. SOA can also allow these healthcare providers to increase their agility to meet future changes as the healthcare industry adopts new regulations or embraces new methodologies in the delivery of care.

The nine partners announced today provide applications that support a growing healthcare community that currently includes more than 8,000 clients worldwide. Their applications encompass many of the specialty fields that impact the healthcare industry including: electronic health records (Blueware); clinical portal (Carefx); document management (CGI Solutions and Technologies and Ricoh); health analytics (Convergence CT); consent management (HIPAAT); health enterprise management (Lawson); communications (Nortel); and clinical and financial information management (Siemens Medical Solutions).

"Healthcare is going through a fundamental transformation where innovation will be driven by a healthcare provider's ability to achieve true interoperability," said Janet Dillione, CEO of the Health Services business unit of Siemens Medical Solutions. "IBM has based its SOA healthcare strategy on open standards, which is similar to our strategy. At Siemens, SOA is a core enabler of workflow technology that assists healthcare organizations in realizing the agility, interoperability, and efficiencies needed to drive healthcare quality up and costs down. This strategy has served as a guiding principle in our Soarian development efforts."

Since it is based on interoperability and supports numerous open standards within the industry(1), IBM's SOA healthcare strategy can help clients to significantly reduce development time and lower costs. Depending on need, various components of the IBM SOA Foundation can be used to connect and integrate existing systems and data repositories to unlock, access, and act on information across the enterprise. The IBM SOA Foundation is an integrated, open-standards-based set of software, best practices and patterns for SOA.

IBM's broad partnerships enable leading software providers to participate in the overall SOA strategy, giving healthcare providers full flexibility in choosing the business applications they need to address specific business processes and challenges.

One example of this is DirectConnect, an internal initiative to provide a streamlined workflow to clinicians within Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), the eighth largest hospital system in the nation and the largest not-for-profit hospital provider in California. Together, IBM teamed with Carefx to deliver a portal-based, aggregate view of real-time, patient-centric data that connects CHW clinicians to the information necessary to deliver care.

"DirectConnect's ability to aggregate patient data in one comprehensive and complete view improves the delivery of patient care and the work lives of our physicians," said Terry Ambus, M.D., chief of staff, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and Chandler Regional Hospital. "With instant access to essential information such as vital signs, laboratory results, radiology exams and medication lists, our healthcare professionals can make more informed decisions and concentrate time on direct patient interaction."

SOA can also help healthcare companies build, extend, and transform their existing infrastructures incrementally over time, by allowing multiple systems to consume and re-use business services, and provide web-based collaboration throughout the healthcare community.

"Integration is one of the biggest problems facing healthcare today," said Ivo Nelson, Vice President, IBM Global Healthcare Provider. "IBM's SOA healthcare strategy provides clients with a smart and flexible infrastructure that takes advantage of existing and new technologies to support changing business operations and conditions."

IBM's SOA strategy incorporates aspects of several industry-leading product portfolios including WebSphere, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational and Information Management and is a critical component of IBM's Information on Demand initiative. These portfolios have been further strengthened by a series of key acquisitions such as Cognos, ISS and Watchfire.

SOA is among the fastest-growing segments of the information technology industry and IBM offers the most comprehensive portfolio of software, services and hardware for building, maintaining and extending SOA environments. IBM has the largest number of SOA clients, with more than 5,700 SOA engagements all over the world. IBM also has a community of more than 4,200 SOA Business Partners worldwide. For more information on IBM's SOA capabilities, visit www.ibm.com/soa

Visit the IBM website for more information on IBM healthcare solutions.

IBM will host IMPACT 2008, the industry's largest SOA conference, April 6-11 in Las Vegas. For more information go to: www.ibm.com/soa/impact2008

Contact(s) information

Chris Rubsamen
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-1803
rubsamen@us.ibm.com

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1 Such as HIPAA EDI, HL7, and the IHE integration profiles.

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