GE Healthcare – Brandon Savage, M.D.

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Dr. Eric Fishman speaking with Dr. Brandon Savage, Chief Medical Officer of GE Healthcare IT.

Category: Featured, HIMSS11
Date: March 9, 2011
Views:46,738 views

Dr. Eric Fishman: This Dr. Eric Fishman. I have the distinct pleasure of speaking with Dr. Brandon Savage, Chief Medical Officer of GE Healthcare IT. Brandon, thank you, for taking the time today.

Dr. Brandon Savage: It's my pleasure.

Dr. Eric Fishman: I understand that GE Healthcare has an enormous variety of technologies. We will speak today most particularly about GE Centricity and GE Centricity Advance and possibly about accountable care organization aspects. Let’s start with the ACOs. What is your technology doing to enable physicians to put up with the tidal wave that is going to be hitting them in the near future?

Dr. Brandon Savage: There are a lot of dimensions to be effectively engaged in the ACOs. At the basic level, one of the areas that we think crucial is connectivity. We know for sure that with an accountable care organization, they are going to have data that they are going to have access across traditional boundaries in order to drive quality care. So, one bigger is around our e-health solutions. We are working with institutions like Geisinger with their KeyHIE health information exchange. They are already doing a lot of the things one might expect of their ACO. Another key component though it is not just the connectivity is really being able to drive quality into the healthcare processes. So, there is a lot of work that we are doing on quality matrix making it easier for the physicians to see how well they are practicing…

Dr. Eric Fishman: Explain that a little bit more. Is that on a per physician basis, per practice basis, they can actually see how their patients fare in various standards?

Dr. Brandon Savage: It is pretty interesting. The way it works is you can pull from any of our EMRs into a common repository so they can look at how they are doing against quality matrix, how they are doing against their peers or benchmark against national averages. So, it really gives them a sense of how they are doing with context.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And the Centricity Advance is a cloud based product.

Dr. Brandon Savage: That's right.

Dr. Eric Fishman: GE Centricity EMR is server based.

Dr. Brandon Savage: That's right.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Is there a lack of inter-operability in the server-based product because it is not already on the cloud, the physicians have equal access to the data and the data transfer with both of those products.

Dr. Brandon Savage: One of the things which is really interesting in Centricity EMR is the same terminology, the same way information is stored across every single costumer. So, we can actually pull all of their data into a single database and they can share information, and not only they can share information but they can share their configurations. So, we will have doctors building ways to manage congestive heart failure and give it to another doctor and they can share their best practices.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And you mentioned a number of times that they can share the data. Tell me how often it is being shared. What is GE doing to encourage that sharing because obviously it's only with the pulling of data that you would like to improve the quality?

Dr. Brandon Savage: So, with the MQuIC, the quality improvement consortium, that’s a very, very broad-based sharing.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Now, that’s sharing data between physicians. Let's talk about sharing – maybe that’s not the right word – with the patients or patient portals for instance and the personal health record. How does GE’s technology interface in that regard?

Dr. Brandon Savage: It's a very important part of our portfolio, engaging the patient as a part of the care team. So, from a GE Healthcare perspective, we actually have a number of ways that we do that. So, both for our health information exchange and for some of our larger integrated delivery networks, we have a product called Centricity Patient Online. It allows the patients to do scheduling, to look at their bills, and their key clinical information.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Has that been out for a long time?

Dr. Brandon Savage: Yeah, it has actually been out; it’s on Version 12.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Okay. And do you find that patients, more importantly physicians, are actually implementing this with significant regularity?

Dr. Brandon Savage: In general, in the industry we have seen that personal health records and patient connectivity is an upcoming trend.

Dr. Eric Fishman: It surprises me. It shocks me. I ran a practice for 20 years, I paid secretaries to do work that patients are now capable of doing; and if I were running a practice today, I would have my patients entering the data whenever possible and we would have them scheduling the appointments. Why is it in your opinion that hasn’t happened with things being repeated which I would have expected?

Dr. Brandon Savage: Well, the challenge is that patients do not have a habit of doing that already. So, it is getting them to be engaged. It’s much more common around patients who have chronic diseases. If they are diabetic or they have congestive heart failure, they naturally are engaged in some of the groups that have the most uptake. For the average people who does not have a lot of healthcare problems, who 364 days of the year isn’t thinking about it, jumping into a portal isn’t as important. Where we actually see the most interest is in terms of scheduling, you know, things that patients, as their lives as people as doing with movie theatres, and travel. So, that's a very important engagement. Getting into the clinical area which you and I think is one of the more interesting areas, tends to be a lot more ramifications with chronic diseases.

Dr. Eric Fishman: And for those physicians who have adopted this methodology, do you believe that they interact with most of their patients through the portal, some of the patients, or very few of those? If the physician's practice has it fully available, what percentage of the patients is actually realizing it?

Dr. Brandon Savage: I don't know the exact percentages but it’s definitely not all of the patients. It's a generally like chronic disease patient population, there is a certain subset of people who are very engaged with their diseases on an ongoing basis and those patients tend to use it fairly frequently. A large number of patients will use it for scheduling and billing and those types of things, but the real engagement on their health record tends to be probably commensurate with how much they are engaging with the physician.

Dr. Eric Fishman: I have a particular interest in the documentation portion; I have been involved with speech recommendation for many years. Tell me your opinion about trends going forward of physicians will be getting data into the chart. Will they be hand writing? Will they be using handwriting recognition, speech recognition, typing, etc.?

Dr. Brandon Savage: I think a number of technologies are going to come out and one of the things that is going to be crucial is that we know there is a need for granular data being putting into the EMR. So, for all this, you know, just handwriting or voice by itself is not going to work because the decisions of work and analytics don’t help but what we do see is emergence of natural language processing technologies. So, it’s all of those mechanisms, either typing or talking; we will have a mechanism to <<inaudible>> into the medical record. Already in our radiology product, we are working with a group that’s doing natural language processing and speech recognition so that when we do radiology reports, if its abnormal or normal, all the key findings are pulled out on a separate of the report. So, we are looking how to bring those technologies into the electronic medical records space for documentation.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Are they able to do the coding and the billing of the portion of the record through natural language processing?

Dr. Brandon Savage: Not yet but that’s where it could go.

Dr. Eric Fishman: I understand that you have a particular interest in pathology. Maybe you could discuss that a little bit.

Dr. Brandon Savage: Yeah, we have a very interesting product right now that is being primarily used for research purposes and we are investigating how to bring it into the true pathology space. It is digital pathology, the product is Omnyx; and similar to what PACS did for radiology 10-15 years ago, Omnyx is doing for pathology. So, here what they are doing is they are actually digitizing slides used in anatomic pathology allowing pathologists to look at those slides and turn the TV screen or a monitor into a microscope. It has a lot of potential in the future for allowing pathologists to be able to work across boundaries; if there is an expert in pathology in one certain domain, allowing them to share it over a region. A lot of the innovation we have seen in radiology because of PACS can start happening in pathology.

Dr. Eric Fishman: What do you see in the next year for GE Healthcare?

Dr. Brandon Savage: The big thing for GE healthcare in the next year of course is what a lot of this show is about and it’s meaningful use, getting costumers to be able to get out there and meaningfully use the software. One of the things that I like to talk about is not just meaningful use but meaningful meaningful use. Meaningful use is about just doing the basic things to get an EMR. Meaningful meaningful use is making sure that you really make a difference. For example, ACOs, we talk a lot about accountable care organizations. Just having something that does some key things around meaningful use probably won't be enough to truly get an ACO which improves the quality of care at a lower cost. So, it's the quality matrix, it's empowering a physician not only to report on, let’s say, what their hemoglobin A1c is but actually make sure that more patients who have diabetes have better control; that's meaningful meaningful use.

Dr. Eric Fishman: Now I get it. Brandon, thank you very much.

Dr. Brandon Savage: My pleasure.

Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman. We have been speaking with Dr. Brandon Savage, Chief Medical Officer of GE Healthcare IT. Thank you

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