Healthcare a hot topic at Oracle OpenWorld 2011

By Patty Enrado
09:15 AM

The healthcare track at the Oracle OpenWorld 2011 conference, held last week at the Moscone Center, saw a nearly 60 percent increase in attendees over last year -- jumping from 800 to 1,350 registered attendees.

"Making healthcare work" was the theme running through the 18 sessions specific to the industry. And the “resounding” issue attendees wanted to address was trying to break the cost curve, according to Marc Perlman, global vice president of healthcare and life sciences for Oracle Healthcare.

“It’s a global issue,” said Perlman. Industry stakeholders need to work together to develop the right workflow and share best practices. Some of the solutions to the healthcare system’s problems aren’t all technology based; however, technology is an enabler that will help drive efficiency in the system, as well as support the new models of care delivery that are coming to market, he said.

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“We’re in this together,” Perlman added. “Our idea is to share and connect people.” Oracle’s vision of connected healthcare involves breaking down the information silos and making IT systems interoperable. Data needs to be able to move securely, and healthcare stakeholders need tools in order to analyze the data and generate actionable information to impact chronic illnesses and other disease states.

“Oracle is in a great position," said Perlman. "As a technology company, we can use our solutions to drive new things together. Being open and sharing is vital for the industry at this point.”

Once data is made “liquid,” the Holy Grail is to be able to do “amazing things” by moving information to the right place and at the right time, Perlman said.

Putting information where it’s needed is the only way the healthcare system can scale, added Reid Oakes, director of technology solutions for healthcare and life sciences at Oracle Healthcare. The way to get to population health is to liberate and analyze the data, which would enable, for example, putting surveillance plans in place. “It’s very linear,” Oakes said.

For the last three years, Oracle has convened 20 healthcare executives, who represent trusted advisors and customers, to form an industry strategy council. Their sessions are meant to drive collaboration, said Oakes. “Building community in this way brought solutions to the market,” he said.

Perlman moderated a general session, “Healthcare That Works,” which included Karen Ignani, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans; Lord Patrick Carter, chairman of McKesson UK; and John Bigalke, vice chairman and national industry leader for health sciences and government for Deloitte LLP. The session identified opportunities and initiatives that worked.

“It’s my belief that the session opened people’s eyes to what we could do,” said Perlman, who is optimistic about the future of healthcare. “Industry will find its way."