expanded their alliance. The two companies plan to integrate their applications into a single product aimed at accountable care organizations, while cross-selling each other's products.
B.G. Jones, VP of partner alliances for Orion, told InformationWeek Healthcare that there's a demand in the market for HIEs that can do more than just exchange data between providers. ACOs and other healthcare organizations want to aggregate that data and apply analytics to it to help them do clinical decision support, care management and population health management, he said.
Many organizations are trying to achieve similar goals by using analytics with enterprise data warehouses. But in the new healthcare delivery models, data must be aggregated across care settings and must be available in near real time. Consequently, "a customer that needs accountable care tools will require an HIE, a platform for data aggregation and application development, and a set of solutions anchored to it," said Mark Johnston, VP of platform business for Caradigm, in an interview.
[ The jury is still out, according to some. Read Do Accountable Care Organizations Improve Patient Care? ]
Orion previously formed a cross-selling alliance with Microsoft Health Solutions, before Microsoft and GE Healthcare formed Caradigm nearly a year ago. The chief asset that Microsoft contributed to Caradigm was Amalga, a peer-to-peer data aggregation platform that was formerly sold as an HIE solution.
Amalga is not similar to Orion's product, because it is connected only to enterprise systems, Johnston noted. "With Amalga, we never tried to supply the last mile integration with ambulatory systems. So it was more of an enterprise exchange than a community exchange."
The Caradigm Intelligence Platform (CIP), promoted on the company's website as "the next generation of Amalga," includes HIE software from GE, said Johnston. Rather than invest in further development of that application, Caradigm decided to integrate the other parts of CIP with Orion's HIE product, he said.
"We're not selling the Amalga solution in the HIE space," he said. "In this relationship with Orion, we're choosing to move forward with the Orion HIE as our core HIE solution and effectively discontinue any future development on the Caradigm HIE."
Regarding Caradigm's support for its HIE customers, he said, "We'll honor our contractual commitments. We have reached out to over 50% of our customer base and are getting positive feedback."
Over time, he added, Caradigm will offer all of its customers the opportunity to transition to the Orion HIE, but it won't tell them to stop using what they have.
Orion will act as a referral partner for CIP and the integrated Orion/CIP solution, according to a news release. Orion will also be a reseller and services provider for CIP and for Caradigm's identity and access management solutions in territories outside the U.S. The latter tools are designed to facilitate caregiver access to patient data across multiple applications.
In addition, Orion plans to build new applications for CIP in the areas of decision support, quality improvement and metrics, and population health management. Caradigm, which has partnered with other developers on its application platform, also co-developed a care management module with Geisinger Health Plan. But in a recent interview with InformationWeek Healthcare, Mark Moroses, senior VP and CIO at Continuum Health Partners, CIP's first customer, said the care management program was still missing some pieces.
Nevertheless, Orion can introduce the integrated solution to a wide swathe of the marketplace. Among Orion's U.S. customers are Catholic Health Initiatives, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Beacon Community of the Inland Northwest, North Carolina HIE, Geisinger Health System, Inland Empire HIE, Kaiser Permanente, Lahey Clinic, Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Maine HealthInfoNet, Massachusetts Health Information Highway, New Hampshire Health Information Organization, and St. Vincent’s HealthCare.
As large healthcare providers test the limits, many smaller groups question the value. Also in the new, all-digital Big Data Analytics issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: Ask these six questions about natural language processing before you buy. (Free with registration.)