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JUL / AUG 2015


Healthcare Journal of new orleans  

together and adapt existing technology that

can improve the healthcare experience for

patients. Ochsner’s innovationOchsner (iO)

is one avenue to build these partnerships.

“We can be a lab for these companies

to test their technologies and work with

patients, and we can be helping them think

through the best way they can help patients,”

saidThomas. “That is what innovationOch-

sner is all about—making sure that we have a

vehicle that we canworkwith companies and

help them develop these new technologies.”

Partners run the gamut, though one of

the most visible partnerships is withApple,

particularly Ochsner’s integrations with

Apple’s HealthKit, which enables Ochsner to

link vast amounts of patient-generated data,

and ResearchKit. Two other notable partner-

ships include Cisco, which provides video

services for the telemedicine programs, and

GE Healthcare.

GE has been a long-standing partner with

Ochsner in terms of innovating the health-

care industry. Most recently, this has included

co-sponsoring a three-year commitment to

The Idea Village for the annual Healthcare

Innovation Summit, the inaugural event for

which was hosted this past March.

Ochsner has a team that is in regular con-

tact with innovation leaders on the West

Coast, including Silicon Valley companies

and equity venture funds. Partnerships and

developments are regularly underway, and

more of these partnered technologies will

be announced within the coming months.

“The idea is to be able to work with other

leading innovators inside and outside the

healthcare field that can help us utilize new

emerging tech to better enable care,”said Dr.


Hurdles to Tech Adoption

Introducing these new technologies has had

its hurdles. Most pronounced is the techno-

phobia that surrounds introducing new tech-

nologies into the long-established healthcare

landscape. Some patients are resistant in that

they assume the technology will be too com-

plicated to use, they don’t understand what

it is or does, or they’re simply not convinced

the technology could help them. A service

like the OBar was one of Ochsner’s answers

to overcoming that technophobic hurdle

and encouraging patients, particularly late-

adopters, to recognize the convenience and

health benefits offered by these technologies.

Another hurdle in the beginning was

developing the technology itself. Before

Ochsner was able to integrate HealthKit into

its EMR, Ochsner had to develop its own

technologies that were not only functional,

but were also secure enough to protect

patient’s sensitive health data. As time has

gone on and through iO, Ochsner has built

the partnerships needed to ease the devel-

opment and adoption of the latest health-

care technologies.

“We had to build a lot of tools within the

EMR to house, display, and visualize data,”

said Dr. Milani. “There was a lot of inter-

nal building on our end to utilize data in

the appropriate fashion. I wouldn’t call it a

hurdle necessarily, but there was certainly

work that had to be put in.”

Finally, with the plethora of healthcare

technology available today, determining

which technologies were the best options

for patients was something Ochsner was

conscious of.

“A key aspect is the ‘why’ of technology,”

saidThomas. “Why is this technology going

to help patients? And if we can’t clearly

articulate why we think it’s going to help

patients, it’s probably not something we

should do. We want to be involved in help-

ing patients have a better experience or have

a better healthcare outcome. Once you start

with the why, it’s really much easier to get

patients and physicians involved.”

Ochsner has spent the past decade focus-

ing on implementing new and innovative

technologies into its healthcare system to

provide patients with the best diagnoses,

treatments, outcomes, and experiences

possible. This has largely been based on

patient-generated data and real-time access

to that data throughmany of Ochsner’s most

recently released technologies. Along with

this patient-generated data, however, comes

another key point in Ochsner’s technological

mission: patient engagement.

Thomas said, “We think having patients

more engaged in their healthcare, more

engaged with their health, is going to pro-

vide safer healthcare, better outcomes, and

can really have patients take more owner-

ship over what’s going on with their health-

care experience.”

“We have to look at healthcare differently,

and Ochsner has done a great job,” said Dr.

Milani. “How can we exploit technology in a

beneficial way for patients? How can we get

patient information when we need it? And

how can we intervene when an individual

needs it as opposed to at an appointment

that might be several months away? That’s

going to be important for all of us in terms

of the future of healthcare.” 



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