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Digitizing Health Records Not Enough; Integrated, Interoperable Enterprises Vital to U.S. Healthcare Transformation

Saturday, September 19, 2009 General News J E 4
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WASHINGTON, July 16 The U.S. needs to go beyond simply digitizing health records and create integrated, interoperable enterprises if it hopes to truly transform the nation's healthcare system, Harris Corporation's Jim Traficant told a Capitol Hill steering committee yesterday.

Traficant, vice president of Healthcare Solutions for Harris Corporation (NYSE: HRS), told members of the Institute for e-Health Policy's Steering Committee on Telehealth and Healthcare Informatics that "Healthcare reform must go beyond digitizing a broken system to enabling an integrated, interoperable one.

"Healthcare transformation will come from a connected, integrated, interoperable system where health information is delivered on demand to clinical and benefits experts with security and privacy, and with patients in control of how their information is shared. That's the transformation the President and nation are looking for. That's the transformation our parents and our children are counting on us to deliver."

Truly integrated and interoperable healthcare enterprises will ultimately help improve patient care and control rising costs, he told the committee. These enterprises "will lead to transparency in pricing and performance, and enable us to attack fraud and waste - all with the ultimate result of reduced costs, improved outcomes, and predictable quality."

Traficant noted that some of the challenges facing healthcare today already have been solved in other industries with large networks, such as the intelligence community and government agencies. He suggested that the lessons learned - if not some of the solutions themselves - from relevant government experience can be applied to what he referred to as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our healthcare system. There's no need to start from scratch."

He cited the successful transformation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) telecommunications infrastructure, which has been transitioned from a fragmented system into a comprehensive, extremely reliable and cost-effective network connecting operations and mission-support activities at 4,000 FAA facilities nationwide.

He also highlighted the tremendous progress that has been made to date with the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), which is expected to provide a secure, nationwide, interoperable health information infrastructure that will connect providers, consumers, and others involved in supporting health and healthcare. The NHIN CONNECT Gateway allows federal agencies and private sector healthcare providers to securely exchange electronic patient information. Those participating in the network can leverage CONNECT to achieve critical mission objectives for standards-based, interoperable health information exchange. It is already in use by the Social Security Administration, where it has significantly reduced the time required to process disability claims, and could one day serve as a single portal from which Americans securely access their own clinical and claims data from any federal source.

Harris - with partners Agilex Technologies, Inc., Sun Microsystems, Inc., and Scenpro, Inc. -- developed the software for the CONNECT Gateway, which was released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in April for general availability as Open Source.

Traficant concluded his presentation before the steering committee by urging attendees to "make it happen. Transformation of the healthcare system is within our reach. The future of our nation depends on it. We have been given an incredible opportunity. We can't squander it."

An archived webcast of the briefing is available on the Institute's web site: www.e-healthpolicy.org.

Harris Healthcare Solutions provides enterprise intelligence solutions and services for commercial and government customers, including systems integration, intelligent infrastructure, advanced visualization and display, enterprise digital content management, and IT services solutions. Harris products, systems, and services improve health outcomes by assuring that critical medical information is delivered with security and privacy to the right person, on the right device, at the point of care.

About Harris Corporation

Harris is an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. Headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, the company has approximately $5 billion of annual revenue and 15,000 employees -- including nearly 7,000 engineers and scientists. Harris is dedicated to developing best-in-class assured communications((R)) products, systems, and services. Additional information about Harris Corporation is available at www.harris.com.

SOURCE Harris Corporation
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