Picis pushes standardization with vital signs 'warehouse'

November 15, 2000

Picis pushes standardization with vital signs 'warehouse'Data-capture expertise at heart of national nonprofitWith all the hoopla in healthcare around standards and interoperability, systems and software vendors have been emphasizing

Picis pushes standardization with vital signs 'warehouse'

Data-capture expertise at heart of national nonprofit

With all the hoopla in healthcare around standards and interoperability, systems and software vendors have been emphasizing their commitment to open-platform computing and standards-based data exchange. Software developer Picis has taken such efforts one step further by forming a nonprofit organization, the National Center for Clinical Outcomes Research (NCCOR), to act as a data warehouse and standardization body for vital signs data collected in perioperative environments.

The move is not completely altruistic; NCCOR is designed to work hand in hand with the newest Picis product, Savent. In fact, Savent comprises a suite of Web-based analysis and research tools that are key to the data warehouse initiative. eQual enables participants to analyze patient-care data and resource utilization, while eBenchmark provides the capability for users to compare their data against the information contained in the NCCOR warehouse. Savent.net acts as an Internet community portal to the various products and services.

"eQual and Savent are really the same thing," said Todd Cozzens, Picis CEO. "eQual sits on the local database and also has another ETL (extraction transfer layer) that extracts information from the local database, strips it of patient identifiers, and sends it to the national database, if the hospital chooses."

Savent leverages Picis's success in automated data collection and analysis for critical care and perioperative environments. The company's flagship product, CareSuite, was designed to automate workflow and patient data flow. Once in the CareSuite system, data are stored in an Oracle database and can be accessed in real-time from both the intensive care unit and the operating room.

"CareSuite has produced a rich data set never before available," Cozzens said. "The granularity is minute-by-minute resolution from medical devices. We're entering into a new era of data-driven decisions and care."

CareSuite tracks more than 150 vital parameters, and these data, collected automatically and stripped of patient-specific information through the eQual software, will serve as the starting point for the NCCOR data warehouse. Picis clients can elect to contribute data to NCCOR or simply use the data warehouse for benchmarking purposes. Picis competitor Deio has already partnered with Picis and NCCOR to participate in the development of data standards, which will involve revamping the data collected by Deio's S/5 Anesthesia Information Management System and Picis's CareSuite to conform to the new standards.

"We have released Savent v.1 at a couple of sites," Cozzens said. "The issue came up-who owns the data? We don't, but we use and repurpose data. So we formed the nonprofit, where the hospitals that make up the nonprofit are the presenters of the data, the researchers, and the governors of how the data are organized and how the data elements get expanded."

Picis has retained the right to sell the data for commercial, nonacademic uses, such as to pharmaceutical companies. NCCOR members can use the data free of charge for academic pursuits. The Arlington, VA-based company is also considering cross-correlating its data with other benchmarking firms, such as GE Healthcare Solutions (formerly Mecon), and plans to extend its data capture to other sources beyond the ICU and operating room, according to Cozzens. Pain management and telemedicine are logical next steps, and the company will look at partnering as a way to enter those markets.

"We're trying to stay at the point of care and focused on clinical performance," he said. "We originally looked at areas that have the biggest inefficiencies, such as anesthesiology, and we focused on the ICU and OR because they are the fastest-growing areas with the biggest incidence of errors. Other companies do collection of data in telemedicine better than we do."

Picis plans to begin marketing Savent in non-U.S. markets. The company has already installed products in 23 countries and formed strong sales and distribution partnerships with IDX, QuadraMed, Siemens Medical, and SAIC. The firm will also be an early adopter of Microsoft's dot-Net platform, according to Cozzens.

The financial future appears healthy as well. Picis raised $35 million through a private placement in June, which is "more cash than we needed," Cozzens said.