Eclipsys (Atlanta) reported that Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (Sunnybrook, Toronto), the largest trauma center in Canada and one of two major trauma centers in Toronto, has selected the Sunrise Patient Flow solution to optimize operational efficiency. Sunnybrook, which treats about 1 million patients on an annual basis, expects Eclipsys' integrated and clinically focused software solution to greatly improve patient throughput in its emergency room and to enhance overall hospital capacity and operational efficiency, while sustaining quality patient care and satisfaction.

"As a busy trauma center, the ability to optimize our capacity and operational efficiency while delivering quick access to care in our emergency room and to patients waiting for surgeries is essential," said Sam Marafioti, CIO and vice president, corporate strategy and development at Sunnybrook. "The Eclipsys Sunrise Patient Flow solution was designed to help hospitals increase patient throughput without capital investment in new facilities or beds. We expect this system to help us make the most of our existing resources and enable faster patient placements to meet the care needs of the metropolitan Toronto area."

Sunrise Patient Flow also is expected to support Sunnybrook in adhering to the Wait Time Strategy of the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) and Long-Term Care and MOH's comprehensive Emergency Room (ER) Strategy announced in May 2008, which sets provincial targets for time spent in the ER.

The Wait Time Strategy is a government plan to increase access and reduce wait times for five major health services: cancer surgery, cardiac procedures, cataract surgery, hip and knee replacements, as well as MRI and CT exams. The ER Strategy now includes the Emergency Department Reporting system, which gathers information from 128 hospitals, including Sunnybrook, for public reporting of the time Ontarians spend in the ER.

The goal of the ER Strategy is to reduce ER wait times and improve access to family healthcare, a significant issue within the Canadian healthcare system. Sunrise Patient Flow will enable Sunnybrook to easily report key metric-related ER wait times to the Local Health Integration Network, minimizing the burden associated with manually tracking and reporting such data, Marafioti noted.

According to the company, the ability to better manage capacity and provide care in a timely manner – both to emergency department patients and to those awaiting other inpatient and outpatient services – is expected to help Sunnybrook meet the MOH's prescribed access benchmarks, thereby averting the financial penalties associated with providing care in an untimely manner.

"Solving the emergency department bottleneck problem will have a ripple effect and, therefore, a positive impact on our staff and patient satisfaction. The system will help us get rid of the delays associated with waiting to place patients in the appropriate beds. As a result, we will be able to decrease wait times throughout the organization," said Keith Rose, MD, executive VP and chief medical officer at Sunnybrook. "Overall, getting the right care to the right patient in the right bed on the right floor can help meet the Ministry of Health's directive to improve access, quality and cost. We are happy to be one of the first providers in Canada to address the operational efficiency challenge with innovative technology – and hope to serve as a model for other hospitals struggling with the same issues."

Sunrise Patient Flow facilitates smooth, well-coordinated patient flow from arrival to discharge with minimal bottlenecks, Eclipsys said. Instead of making multiple phone calls – to find a bed, to request a porter, to get a room cleaned – the system electronically automates all of these communications. Visual alerts and graphic screens presented via a real-time dashboard drive caregiver priorities and next steps. A performance reporting function also makes it possible to gain the insight required to implement quality improvement initiatives.

"When you are discharging or admitting patients, it is crucial for environmental, transport and clinical staff to work together. The Eclipsys system integrates these three disciplines and enables staff to communicate seamlessly. Physicians, nurses, bed managers, housekeeping, transport and others can then work together to effectively and efficiently move the patient through the system," said Debra Carew, Sunnybrook's director of operations for trauma, emergency, critical care programs and patient flow.

"We look forward to supporting Sunnybrook as it undertakes a leadership role to improve access to care in the Ontario province. The Sunrise Patient Flow solution has been proven to not only reduce emergency department overcrowding, but also to reduce length of stay and operating costs, while sustaining quality of care. We anticipate this technology implementation to result in tremendous positive outcomes," said Eric Rosow, Eclipsys' VP and general manager of Patient Flow Solutions.

In other agreements/contracts news:

• Allscripts (Chicago) and Synnex (Fremont, California), a business process services company, reported that the Synnex Healthcare Solutions Division will distribute the Allscripts MyWay electronic health record (EHR) to Allscripts authorized resellers who are also members of the Synnex Healthcare Solutions distribution netework.

Through this partnership, Synnex said it would leverage its existing IT distribution capabilities and technology experience within the healthcare market to expand and accelerate the adoption of the Allscripts MyWay EHR. The SYNNEX Healthcare Solutions distribution network is focused on resellers with a dedicated concentration in the healthcare industry, including Allscripts resellers authorized to offer the Allscripts MyWay EHR solution.

The Allscripts MyWay EHR offers electronic health record, practice management and claims management. The integrated solution automates everyday clinical and business tasks while electronically connecting physicians and other caregivers to pharmacies, labs, insurers and other key healthcare stakeholders, the company said. Designed specifically to meet the needs of small physician practices, the Allscripts MyWay EHR is available via Software as a Service (SaaS) over the Internet or as an on-premise application installed on a server. According to Allscripts, the web-based SaaS approach provides additional flexibility by enabling physician practices to avoid many upfront and ongoing expenses tied to equipment, IT personnel and operations. Small practices can focus solely on treating patients, while letting Allscripts handle technology components such as maintaining servers, performing backups, installing upgrades, and managing firewalls and security, the company noted.

"Synnex continues to do an excellent job at looking at the healthcare vertical differently than the other contenders by enabling distribution of complete end-to-end solutions that are adaptable and solve business critical issues," said John Hughes, president and founder at eDocSecure, an authorized Allscripts reseller that is also part of the Synnex Healthcare Solutions network. "In particular, this partnership with Allscripts accelerates distribution and adoption of a full turn-key EHR solution by end user physicians through Allscripts resellers in the Synnex Healthcare Solutions network, and takes the guess work out of the equation for physicians to implement."

"To qualify for the maximum amount of federal incentives, physicians must have an electronic health record in place and must be using it in their everyday practice as soon as possible," said Allscripts CEO Glen Tullman. "We are pleased to partner with Synnex to provide independent physicians and small groups a practical, cost effective way to enter the electronic healthcare highway from a trusted partner."

• Prometheus Research (New Haven, Connecticut) has signed a three-year contract with the Simons Foundation (New York) to expand their development partnership on SFARI Base, an HTSQL-based informatics platform designed to help researchers collaborate on understanding the causes of autism. The collaboration is part of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).

Prometheus, a database management software company, created the HTSQL platform, which allows for real-time access and configuration of databases via the web. The company's flagship product for the biomedical research market, RexDB, formed the basis for SFARI Base, Prometheus said.

The SFARI mission is to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of autism and related developmental disorders. The SFARI database, known as SFARI Base, is a new resource for autism research that provides the scientific community access to genetic and phenotypic information on 2000 families.

• Sequence (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Global Automation Partners (GAP; Danbury, Connecticut) reported a partnership designed to offer computer system integration and compliance solutions to the life sciences industry. According to the companies, the partnership will combine the proven automation and manufacturing IT engineering processes of GAP with the regulatory expertise of Sequence, to effectively design, implement and validate computer systems used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

• Emdeon (San Diego), a provider of revenue and payment cycle solutions, and Bloodhound Technologies (Durham, North Carolina), a claims editing and analytics provider, reported a partnership to deliver a new claims processing model intended to provide healthcare payers with opportunities for greater savings, enhanced processing efficiencies and improved provider relations.

The partnership brings together Emdeon's pre-adjudication advanced claiming logic with Bloodhound's ConVergence Point clinical code integrity platform. Combining these capabilities will simplify implementation of claims editing for payers and make it easier for payers to customize the solution to best meet their needs, according to the companies.

• athenahealth (Portland, Maine), a provider of Internet-based business services to physician practices, and Medical Network (MedNet; Watertown, Massachusetts) reported a new alliance. MedNet providers practicing in all 16 state counties in Maine can now have preferred access to athenahealth's integrated electronic health record (EHR) service, athenaClinicals, and revenue cycle management service, athenaCollector.

• MetricStream (Palo Alto, California), a provider of global governance, risk, compliance and quality management solutions, and SigmaQuest (Sunnyvale, California), a provider of On-Demand, scalable solutions for product quality management, are partnering on the delivery of end-to-end product quality management and compliance solutions.

Military and aerospace, electronics manufacturers and FDA-regulated industries, that utilize both companies' software solutions, can get instant feedback on quality throughout their products' entire lifecycles, pinpoint the root cause of errors, fix processes so errors don't reoccur and prove compliance to stringent quality requirements from FDA and other regulatory organizations, the companies noted.

• Palladian Health (West Seneca, New York) reported a technology development partnership to implement ClinicaCDS, a clinical decision support service, as part of its recently disclosed program, Palladian Coordinated Spine Care.

According to the company, Palladian Coordinated Spine Care is a "revolutionary" clinically integrated program that will help patients and clinicians deal with back pain. Spine care costs have reached national epidemic proportions and are estimated to be over $194 billion annually in direct costs alone, the company said. Palladian Coordinated Spine Care provides interactive web based Clinical Decision Support to patients and clinicians to deliver evidence based treatment recommendations at the point of care.

In addition to the use of ClinicaCDS, Palladian Coordinated Spine Care will provide care management outreach to patients with back pain, educational and messaging campaigns on back pain and appropriate treatment methods and utilization management of high cost invasive or unsupported procedures. Palladian Coordinated Spine Care will integrate with each client's benefit management and data infrastructure, coordinating and leveraging already existing capabilities and clinical information.

Palladian and Religent (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina) have agreed to jointly develop Palladian CareManager, an application that will integrate on a real time basis with ClinicaCDS and Palladian's broad set of clinical data to facilitate Palladian's care management programs. Religent and Clinica have agreed that Palladian is their exclusive partner for muscular skeletal and diagnostic imaging initiatives.

Religent is a software development company that serves the life sciences and healthcare markets. ClinicaCDS is a decision support application that was originally developed by two Duke University (Durham, North Carolina) faculty members. ClinicaCDS is a centralized, scalable and standards based decision support system that is currently being used in a number of clinical settings such as: disease management, population health management, and breast cancer screening.

• OptumHealth (Golden Valley, Minnesota) said it is collaborating with American Well (Boston) to offer the first nationwide service allowing individuals immediate access to physicians and clinicians via two-way video, secure chat, the phone or a corporation's health care portal.

OptumHealth says it helps individuals navigate the healthcare system, finance their healthcare needs and achieve their health and well-being goals. American Well says it has created a new healthcare marketplace where consumers and physicians can come together online to acquire and provide convenient and immediate health care services.

• RemitDATA (Memphis, Tennessee), a provider of web-based productivity tools and benchmarking to the outpatient healthcare market, reported a multi-year agreement with VHA (Irving, Texas), the national healthcare alliance, to optimize reimbursement and operational efficiencies for its 23,000-plus non-acute care members nationwide.

Using RemitDATA's tools, Reiembursement PRO and WebScan PRO, VHA's non-acute members can improve and simplify their reimbursement and business operations by reducing denials, accelerating cash flow and enhancing work flow processes, the company said. In addition, the aggregated payer data collected via Reimbursement PRO will provide VHA members with real-time payer benchmarks to make the most informed decisions to enhance their practice's profitability.