Healthcare IT Takes on The C Word
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, we’ll soon begin to see a proliferation of pink awareness ribbons, public service announcements, and fundraisers – be they three-day treks or three-hour silent auctions. By now, we are all familiar with the C word and its all-too unnecessarily common repercussions. It doesn’t take a comedy on Showtime, or a movie like 50/50 to familiarize most of us with the life changes that come with cancer; though I’m sure they do provide a bit of levity at a time when folks might need it most.
I’m not sure how high profile healthcare IT ranks in either form of the above entertainment (having never seen The Big C or the soon-to-be released movie 50/50), but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that each of these vehicles portrays their main characters discussing treatment and lifestyle changes with their community oncologists and physicians – the care team that most people turn to first.
McKesson Corp., a healthcare services and IT company, has formed a new division, McKesson Specialty Health, in an effort to highlight the role these community providers play, and the part healthcare IT has to play in helping them improve clinical outcomes when it comes to cancer and other specialties.
I recently chatted with McKesson’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roy Beveridge, about the timing of the new division, and the likelihood of its services being used by physicians in coordinated care programs.
Why did McKesson want to establish this new division now?
RB: “McKesson established this new division when it acquired US Oncology and integrated its services and expertise with those of its specialty division, McKesson Specialty Care Solutions. When we were thinking about bringing these two organizations together, we knew and were excited about the value we could create for our customers and their patients. Now that nine months have gone by, we are fully integrated and have a broader array of services and offerings that we are very proud of. Our goal is to strengthen community-based physician practices through innovative technology, clinical support and business solutions.”
In your conversations with community care providers, was there a lack of healthcare IT solutions available specific to specialty physician practices? How will the new division address these needs?
“US Oncology and McKesson were already offering technology services that were specific to specialty physician practices. But together through the new division of McKesson Specialty Health, we are now able to address the needs of these practices even more efficiently. Just look at what we’ve been able to do with the iKnowMed electronic health record system and Lynx Mobile drug inventory management system. We’ve integrated the two previously separate systems, allowing oncology practices to have a single, comprehensive chemotherapy orders workflow management system. Oncologists with both products can order a drug in iKnowMed, which automatically communicates with Lynx Mobile, so when a patient arrives for an appointment, the drug is already in the inventory management system, ready to be pulled and tracked.