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New Analysis By West Health Institute Finds Medical Device Interoperability Could Save More Than $30 Billion A Year

Analysis released during WHI's testimony at Congressional hearing on health care information technology

WASHINGTON and SAN DIEGO, March 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A new analysis released today by the West Health Institute (WHI) at a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health estimates that medical device interoperability – the ability of medical devices and health care systems to seamlessly communicate and exchange information – could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings and improve patient care and safety.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120926/DC81307LOGO-b) (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130320/DC80372)

Dr. Joseph M. Smith, chief medical and science officer of WHI, shared the analysis as part of his testimony outlining regulatory and policy changes necessary to create integrated, interoperable systems to improve outcomes, lower costs and create higher-value health care focused on patient-centered solutions.

In a hospital today, patients at the point-of-care are treated with six to 12 medical devices in a typical intensive care unit, including defibrillators, electrocardiographs, vital sign monitors, ventilators, and infusion pumps. These devices are often from different manufacturers and not connected, requiring a costly, complex information technology (IT) infrastructure and introducing the potential for miscommunication that adversely affects patients.

"We see an enormous opportunity to use information technology and device innovation to bring about the much needed transformation in health care delivery," said Smith. "Today's hospitals are filled with medical devices that are unable to share critical data, creating potential dangers to patients, as well as inefficiencies that put a tremendous financial burden on our health care system."

While there has been progress made in developing interoperability standards to date, the health care industry continues to fall short on adoption of those standards.

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