Infosys to improve healthcare access in rural regions

Infosys Technologies Limited has announced that it has completed deployment of a patient management tool for an award-winning health information technology (IT) initiative to improve healthcare access for rural and underserved patients. Infosys collaborated with the University of New Mexico (UNM) to improve patient outcomes by designing and implementing a Web application that facilitates real-time flow and access of interoperable clinical data among participating health providers, as part of Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). Project ECHO’s Web-based patient management tool has an intuitive web interface that efficiently and securely integrates patient data in real-time from all participating health providers, leveraging Infosys’ Healthcare Integration & Collaboration solution. As a result, physicians are able to co-manage patients based on a more accurate exchange of data. This is expected to enhance case-based educational experiences by facilitating more informed care-management decision making and continuous training of rural physicians. The clinician-centric tool also delivers a platform for physicians to stay connected with patients throughout the treatment, ensuring better prognosis and improved patient compliance. Responding to a pressing need to improve Hepatitis-C treatment among rural communities, the UNM Health Sciences Center and the Departments of Health and Corrections developed Project ECHO, funded by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The organizations used teleconferences, telemedicine and the Internet to develop the backbone of the program. “Knowledge networks” enabled physicians to co-manage patients with primary caregivers in rural communities and share their expertise of best-practice treatment protocols using a case-based learning approach. Over time, rural health providers become highly skilled in treating chronic diseases, providing better care and greater access to specialty care for all patents. Since June 2004 the project has conducted 205 Hepatitis-C Knowledge Network clinics and provided 2,316 consultations for patients. “Project ECHO has proven that technology can help overcome traditional barriers to adequate healthcare treatment, such as distance, income, and lack of specialized medical professionals for underserved communities with no access to treatment,” said Dr. Sanjeev Arora, project director and utive vice chairman for the Department of Medicine at the UNM Health Sciences Center. “Infosys is an integral partner, helping further our goal to expand the Project ECHO model to patients suffering from other health conditions in remote areas and countries around the world.” The Web-enabled software will allow Project ECHO to expand to multiple chronic diseases and health conditions such as HIV, cardiac conditions, mental health disorders, diabetes, autism, substance-abuse disorders, among others. In addition, since the system is delivered via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, it reduces potential technology barriers that previously existed in rural health clinics. The SaaS model is enabled through Infosys’ Healthcare Integration and Collaboration solution, an enterprise Service-Oriented Architecture-based integration solution. It enables retri, sharing and use of data captured across disparate healthcare IT systems. “The University of New Mexico is at the forefront of an industry shift toward adopting technology as an enabling platform to better patient treatment and faster care delivery, said Eric Paternoster, senior vice president and head for insurance, health and life sciences, Infosys Technologies. “Project ECHO represents the best practices in healthcare IT, which is core to its vision of care. That progressive strategy has buoyed its leadership in its field.”

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