Earlier this year, General Electric and Microsoft announced they would collaborate on a healthcare IT project entitled ‘Caradigm’. After months of preparation the program is finally up and running. Microsoft and General Electric have a 50-50 stake in Caradigm and will remain equally involved in the decision making process.
The basic idea behind the merger is to use GE’s experience in the healthcare industry and combine it with Microsoft’s ability to develop data platforms. GE CEO Michael Simpson said, the two companies are better off working together to provide high quality solutions, rather than on their own.
Caradigm is designed to help healthcare providers retrieve patient information faster. Caradign will keep Doctors organized and leave them with more time to treat patients. Managing the information for each individual patient is a difficult task. Caradigm will also make it possible for healthcare facilities to accumulate data from various sources and keep it in one place with easy access. The Caradigm project will also enable people to enjoy a higher quality of healthcare at an affordable price.
Digitizing patients records is a difficult process as many health care professionals lack the ability to categorize data. The same problem is faced by other healthcare providers. Some hospitals prefer to use different systems for storing the information. The lack of cross-system compatibility also creates issues.
Caradigm aims to overcome this hurdle and ensure better integration between the data of different providers. To make this possible, both Microsoft and General Electric had to purchase platforms and information exchanges. Microsoft acquired Vergence, expreSSO and Amalga. The platforms enable healthcare providers to view the data of patients stored on different systems on a single database. GE purchased Qualibria and eHealth, exchanges that provide information on the best practices for merging systems and how to connect them together. To make the most of the resources GE has used the Amalga platform and combined it with eHealth and Qualibria.
As of now, Caradigm is still in its early days. It is going to take some time to analyze how effective the system proves to be and whether it is able to achieve its ultimate goal. Currently, Caradigm has offices in several cities including Chevy Chase, Salt Lake City and Andover.
The headquarters of the company are located in Bellevue, where a quarter of its 600 employees are currently working. The company hopes to increase the number of employees by 25% in the near future. In theory, a smaller company has the freedom and independence to operate better than the two giants who have a stake in it. However, there is still some time before the healthcare industry has standards for data management and storage. With their clout, Microsoft and General Electric can make Caradigm the viable option until a better solution is found which healthcare providers can agree on.
About the author: Shane writes for the blog at i3bus.com, a Grand Rapids based company that offers healthcare IT solutions.