POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 31, 2010
Health care is front and center on the national agenda these days, and the Aloha State is no exception. There's also a quiet IT revolution going on in Hawaii medicine that's changing the way docs connect with patients. One of the companies behind this is TeamPraxis, a locally grown technology firm that's been around for 18 years and now has 150 employees.
According to CEO Creighton Arita, business has never been better.
His company, which serves about 1,000 physicians in the state, is digitizing medical records and building a state-of-the art network for doctors. By digitizing records and making them accessible online, docs can better automate everyday tasks such as billing, scheduling and writing prescriptions and patient charts.
The need is enormous, and Praxis has partnered with Allscripts, a publicly traded mainland company, to sell its locally developed software outside of Hawaii.
Although it's a complex process to tie health care entities such as hospitals, physician's offices and labs together, Arita says that the concept is simple. Once physicians are able to integrate health records with a data delivery system and share it with other stakeholders, patients can be much more easily tracked and properly treated.
For example, the network would allow a physician to automatically flag patients for high blood pressure. If the data don't look good, the patient can be e-mailed with an appointment and administered attention. Or, if there's a drug recall, physicians on the network will know which of their patients was prescribed the product in question and can make the adjustment immediately.
However, it's not strictly a one-way street. The new network also means patients can access their records and lab tests, and communicate directly with physicians. They also will be in a position to better understand treatment options.
Says Arita, "Extending information to patients gets them engaged, and that's a good thing."
The growth of the TeamPraxis network has been impressive. As more medical data speeds along the network, the need for greater bandwidth is commensurately higher. Arita says he's seeing in excess of a 30 percent annual growth for bandwidth requirements.
TeamPraxis, along with DRFortress, is also creating a medical exchange. Doctors, hospitals, labs and medical insurance companies can connect to and through the exchange to transfer
information between each other. Of course, all information that moves is done in a secure and confidential manner compliant with all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act policies and requirements.
The bottom line: Providing medical data means physicians can better manage chronic diseases and patients can play a greater role in their own health care.