Putting the right information into the right hands at the right time is a prescription for better health. But because many health systems lack the technological infrastructure to easily capture and share information, it’s easier said than done.

Cutting-edge diagnostic tools and breakthrough advances can help doctors treat patients and save lives as never before. However, healthcare systems worldwide remain fragmented and inefficient as the industry lags behind other sectors in adopting information technology (IT) to improve overall effectiveness. Providers lack an integrated view of their patients’ conditions and medical histories. As a result, costs escalate and care suffers. An estimated $1.2 trillion USD is wasted every year in the U.S. healthcare system alone—up to $88 billion USD of that waste is the result of ineffective use of IT.1

HP is responding with innovative IT solutions that accelerate the transformation of healthcare. We’re applying our expansive portfolio and problem-solving expertise to help empower healthcare providers and patients with lifesaving information, streamline and integrate processes, modernize health systems, and increase access to and quality of care around the world. We take a holistic view, collaborating with governments, healthcare practitioners, and other businesses to drive systemic change, and improve health systems for the long term.

Digital solutions increase efficiency

Today’s hospitals often operate less efficiently than they should. Patients sometimes move through hospitals faster than their records can keep up because of slow, manual, paper-based processes. Outdated medication histories and delayed lab results can put caregivers in the precarious position of making life-altering decisions without a full picture of their patients’ conditions.

But HP Digital Hospital unites people, processes, and technology to help create a more productive, secure, and safe healthcare environment. HP Digital Hospital uses technology to addresses complex, critical elements of care and give providers access to highly integrated, real-time information. As a result, patient care improves, staff efficiency increases, and hospital operating costs fall. 

St. Olavs Hospital in Norway has embraced digital hospital solutions. With HP’s help, it has implemented a single network that can be accessed wirelessly. Caregivers with mobile devices can capture, access, and share vital data, such as X-rays and lab results, in a timely way from any location. Automating tasks helps reduce errors, duplication, and other time-consuming inefficiencies—leaving doctors and nurses more time for patients.

St. Olavs Hospital moved more than half of its patient care areas into its new facility in 2006 and the remainder in 2010. Over the past few years, the hospital has operated with a balanced budget, reduced patients’ average length of stay, decreased turnaround time for discharge reports, and experienced an overall staff productivity gain of 6% per year.

Digital health solutions aren’t just for high-tech hospitals in developed regions of the world. HP is also applying the advantages of digital hospitals in remote, rural environments. For example, mothers2mothers(m2m) is a nongovernmental organization that counsels more than 1.5 million women in sub-Saharan Africa each year. Their work is critical to reducing transmission of HIV from mother to child throughout the region.

With the help of HP, m2m is evaluating its current process and rethinking how it gathers, synthesizes, and reports information across its network of more than 700 clinics. New database technology and cloud and mobile services from HP are expected to help m2m migrate its paper-based records system to a digital environment. More effective sharing of information, increased reporting capabilities, and quicker access to critical information will help m2m make even more timely decisions—improving the health of patients and their unborn children. Learn more about our work with m2m.

The right IT for the right outcome

In some cases, addressing health challenges calls for the latest, most advanced technology. In others, bringing simple technologies to an underserved community can overcome problems that have gone unsolved for years. In another project that’s having a big impact on the lives of HIV-positive patients in Africa, HP is working with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) to help transform the HIV-testing process for infants in Kenya.

Many HIV-positive infants in Kenya die because antiquated, paper-based systems delay test results, diagnoses, and lifesaving treatment. A dose of HP technology is helping to reverse this devastating trend. Now, instead of waiting months for hard-copy documents to shuttle between clinics and labs, test results are sent by text message to short message service (SMS)-enabled HP printers in rural clinics. Health providers can receive the information just one to two days after the results are ready, which means babies can receive lifesaving treatments before it’s too late.

In 2009, before this system was implemented, 45,000 children in Kenya were tested, and the HIV-positive children were put on treatment. With this system in place, HP expects the number of children tested to jump to 70,000 during 2011. Learn more about the early infant diagnosis project.

IT accelerates delivery of lifesaving information

All too often, people die from preventable or treatable diseases because they—and their doctors—lack information to make timely decisions about their health. HP technology is speeding up the delivery of critical health-related information so that patients and healthcare providers can make quick, informed decisions.

Use of counterfeit medications is estimated to cause at least 700,000 deaths a year.2 These drugs may be placebos or include only a fraction of the active ingredient. Or—even worse—they could contain harmful ingredients. HP is working with the nonprofit organization mPedigree and companies in the pharmaceutical and telecommunications industries to combat counterfeit drugs through an innovative authentication system.

Using a basic mobile phone, consumers can send a code, printed on their medication packaging, via a free text or SMS message to the system. Within seconds, they receive a reply letting them know whether the medication is legitimate. In addition to designing, implementing, and managing the service, HP is also providing the cloud infrastructure necessary to make authentication and tracking fast, easy, and secure.

HP and mPedigree launched the drug authentication program in Nigeria and Ghana in December 2010. We expect the program will be expanded to additional countries and new pharmaceuticals in 2011. Learn more about our work with mPedigree.

The kinds of solutions we’re pioneering with CHAI and mPedigree have tremendous potential to improve lives globally—addressing a number of diseases and cutting across demographics, geographies, and socio-economic levels.

IT enables research for customized medical treatments

Technology can deliver seamless, secure access to health information virtually anytime, anywhere—opening up avenues of collaboration and accelerating the speed of innovation.

Since 2003, HP and the Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine have collaborated to create an enterprise IT infrastructure designed to effectively bridge research and clinical care. In initial phases of the collaboration, HP and Partners HealthCare built a powerful IT infrastructure foundation with innovative software, ample storage memory, and processing power to support advances in genetic sequencing technologies.

Today, researchers leverage this infrastructure to speed and support critical genetic discoveries underlying disease. Evolving the robust IT foundation to support modern clinical research is changing the practice of medicine—providing a significant social impact on human health.

Better IT, better health

The potential for IT to transform global health and improve care is virtually boundless: slashing inefficiencies and boosting the effectiveness of health systems globally. Helping to prevent unnecessary illness and death by alerting patients to counterfeit medications. Helping to save infants through timely diagnosis of HIV. Supporting modern clinical research to change the practice of medicine.

These aren’t unachievable dreams. They are—or are quickly becoming—reality. HP is helping health organizations worldwide realize advances that empower patients and healthcare providers, reduce costs, and save lives.

  1. 1 “The Price of Excess: Identifying Waste in Healthcare Spending,” PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2010.
  2. 2   Keeping It Real: Protecting the world’s poor from fake drugs,” International Policy Network, May 2009. (Approximately 700,000 deaths from malaria and tuberculosis alone are attributable to fake drugs.)