With growing fear of swine flu during the month of April, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California, which was about to pull-off the implementation of Microsoft’s Amalga software, changed their plan. Dr. Michael Gallagher, director of business intelligence and outcomes for El Camino mentioned that the hospital not only implemented Amalga but also made an addition to it since it was a flexible software. They designed it to track patients that came to the hospital with flu-like symptoms, as well as anyone else who may have been in contact with them in the emergency department. Amalga is Microsoft’s e-health aggregation software that helps health-care institutions like hospitals and other health-care service providers by capturing and storing patient and other information from disparate systems and presenting it in one place.
Steve Shihadeh, vice president of the Microsoft Health Solutions Group, explained that the tracking software took only three hours for deployment using the software. Microsoft also demonstrated the use of the tool through a feature of Amalga called User-Self Service, which allows people to create a new application very quickly by re-using data aggregated by Amalga. It was mentioned that Amalga’s unique feature, advantage over other e-health platforms such as Eclipsys, was its ability to pull much information from the many disparate systems found in a typical medical database and supporting to visualize relationship between the data. With a few cases of swine-flu cases being reported in the U.S. now, El Camino, for the moment, has ceased using the swine-flu tracking application. However, Gallagher told that the hospital is keeping the information and the tool on hand, and is prepared for any recurrence of a swine-flu epidemic, which according to some health-care officials may happen later this year.