August 6, 2010

IBM, Aetna Team to Use Cloud-Based System for Patient Information

Nicole Hemsoth

This week IBM and health insurance company Aetna rolled out a cloud offering that references patient data from electronic medical records that are stored in the cloud and shoots off recommendations and updates about the progress of treatment cycles and prescription history and interaction. As BusinessWeek noted, this partnership was formed in conjunction with a subsidiary of Aetna called “ActiveHealth Management to create the hosted Collaborative Care Solution product that provides clinical support for physicians and allows patients to access their own data without requiring an investment in new infrastructure.”

This service combines technology from IBM along with the analytics software that powers ActiveHealth’s evidence-based CareEngine clinical support system that is hosted in the cloud. This system can take the wealth of data and analyze a range of aspects of patient history, including pending medical insurance claims, drug and lab data, and other patient information. According to IBM, this service is priced at up to $1,000 per month per physician on an unlimited-use basis.

As comfort grows with storing patient and other sensitive data in the cloud, this type of service might catch on in larger circles but for now, the adoption of the service is limited to only a handful of clients. While it was not made clear how the “cloud” functions, we can assume this is a private cloud due to the complex regulations governing data that contains sensitive personal information. The benefits to a service like this are clear, however, with a lowered cost of infrastructure—at least according to the initial reports from early adopters—and with the instant accessibility of patient data in order to better monitor care and follow-through with medical orders, including prescription fulfillment, treatment history, and possible drug or other treatment interactions.

Full story at BusinessWeek

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