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An HIT Moment with … Ted Hoy

February 13, 2012 Interviews No Comments

An HIT Moment with ... is a quick interview with someone we find interesting. Ted Hoy is senior vice president and general manager of cloud business platforms at Optum. The company just announced the rollout of its secure, cloud-based environment and its Optum Care Suite application suite that include care plans, care coordination, quality, and population health.

2-13-2012 8-58-44 PM

Describe the cloud-based platform Optum is launching and how you see it being used.

As you know, there are many cloud platforms out there. Some are general purpose, with limited ability to support health care applications. Others serve a single set of constituents. Optum is introducing the first open, comprehensive, cloud-based environment built from the ground up specifically for healthcare and for the all the participants within the health system.

Our clients have asked for a solution that makes it easy to integrate all the various information resources and tools they need to drive faster decisions, better outcomes, and lower costs. Moreover, they’ve asked for an environment that supports their work and the work they do alongside others in the health system. All integrated, fully secure, and easily accessible in one place. 

The other thing we learned from our clients is that innovation can happen all over the health system, but those with creative ideas lack the tools and resources to bring them to life. We designed our cloud platform to unlock that potential for innovation and be equally accessible to individual innovators and large, sophisticated organizations

The Optum health care cloud platform brings all these things — including secure voice, video, and chat capabilities — together to help users manage their work and time more efficiently, to spur innovation across the health system, and to dramatically reduce health IT costs and complexity.

What are some examples of how providers might use the cloud-based platform to improve patient outcomes?

When care providers collaborate on patient care, the patient wins. We designed the Optum health care cloud to make collaboration among physicians and their patients easy. But what is truly groundbreaking is the ability of the Optum cloud to combine information from thousands of sources, run analytics against them, and deliver health intelligence to those who need it to make better, more effective decisions quickly.

Data from EMRs, genetics databases, and even local weather information, among other sources, can be harnessed to support a more responsive health system. For example, health administrators can anticipate spikes in ER visits due to worsening conditions for those with asthma and take preventive measures with their patients.

Optum has over 20 years of expertise delivering this type of analytics through user-friendly applications. Through the Optum health care cloud, we will dramatically accelerate the ability of users to access and apply this health intelligence to their most pressing decisions, from patient care to population health management.

Software developers will be able to turn ideas into applications. How easy will it be that to do, and what’s in it for the developer?

To quote one of the great technology innovators of our time Bill Joy, “The only way to get close to state of the art is to give the people doing innovative things the means to do it.” Unlocking innovation throughout the health system is a core tenant for the Optum health care cloud. It delivers tools and capabilities essential to creating health care applications – an open SDK, analytics tools, security protocols, and more. It also features a waiting marketplace that makes it simpler and less expensive for innovators to deliver their applications to clients.

For example, you can develop an app for the health care cloud with HIPAA compliance and interoperability with other apps baked right in, along with compatibility and connectivity to major health IT systems and networks. These capabilities stand to accelerate innovation while lowering costs.

How can physicians use the new Optum Care Suite? How will be it licensed and where will its data come from?

Physicians will be able to use Optum Care Suite applications through the Optum healthcare cloud, which they can access them from any Internet-connected device. This cloud will bring together data from a wide range of sources, including databases run by Optum, from third parties, and from clients. 

We foresee offering Optum Care Suite applications on a subscription basis and through enterprise licensing agreements. One of the exciting opportunities made possible by the cloud is the ability for app developers to create different models for selling their applications. As such, we anticipate a variety of licensing arrangements to be available. 


How is Optum’s cloud similar to or different from Medicity’s iNexx platform, and what industry trends does the availability of these platforms reflect?

You raise an important question about what industry trends these platforms reflect. From our cloud to the iNexx platform and the pending Caradigm venture from GE and Microsoft, it’s clear that the health system is craving simplicity and demanding widespread interoperability. We believe there is room for a variety of healthcare cloud environments. Some are taking a limited approach, using the HIE as hub from which to extend applications to small provider groups.

Optum’s approach is comprehensive and our healthcare cloud and its applications and networks are compatible with a range of platforms. We know the most important feature is the ability to support better patient care decisions and to help health professionals transition to new healthcare delivery and payment models. This is going to require open, platform-neutral technology that is responsive to the needs of those who use it, regardless of the health IT they’re currently using.

Our strategy is to unlock the potential of newly digitized information and analytics and to support rapid, widespread innovation. That’s why we’ve built the health system’s first comprehensive health care cloud, one with unparalleled scale and scope, and one seeded with a powerful collection of applications that simplify the health system for those who live, work, and depend on it every day.

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