6 Key Health Information Technology Trends at HIMSS 2019

Healthcare today is largely woven together with electronic medical record (EMR) systems, which has led to the rapid attendance growth in the past decade at the annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) meeting, now the world's largest health informatics conference with more than 1,300 vendors on the vast expo floor. Here are six key takeaway trends seen at the 2019 meeting held in February.

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Why Should Hospitals Invest in Healthcare Supply Chain Management Technology?

Article | November 29, 2023

The use of technology in hospitals has been increasing for the last decade and at present, it has reached an all-time high. However, it may be surprising to realize that the healthcare supply chain management (SCM) area of hospitals has not fully embraced technology. According to a survey conducted among 100 hospitals recently, nearly half of these hospitals use less sophisticated/outdated tools or manual processes, such as Excel spreadsheets, to manage supply expenses, inventory, and other supply chain activities. According to the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM), healthcare supply chain management costs will surpass labor costs shortly for the number one position. But there is good news; similar surveys show potential for significant healthcare supply chain management cost savings. For example, an analysis by Navigant consulting estimates that, by standardizing and streamlining the healthcare supply chain management processes, hospitals can save an average of US$11 million per hospital or 17.7% annually. What is Healthcare Supply Chain Management Procurement, distribution, and movement of products and services from the receiving deck to the patient encompass the process of healthcare supply chain management. There are a lot of challenges in healthcare supply chain management processes. The major issues include demand for specific types of product in inventory, hoarding of supplies, out-of-stock issues that may lead to expensive delivery charges, product expirations, unwarranted increase in inventory dollars based on demand, and pilferage, among others. These issues may contribute to out-of-budget supply costs. Healthcare supply chain management is an extremely complex process. Poor product standardization, inadequate data reporting, a lack of automation throughout the process, and increasing regulatory requirements only add to the difficulties. Thus, an easy way to get rid of all these complexities is to incorporate advanced technologies in the healthcare supply chain management process. Healthcare Supply Chain Management Technology Advanced healthcare supply chain management technologies are developed to transform the supply chain process to a more efficient one by automating repetitive manual tasks in hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Minimizing waste, enabling timely data-based decision-making, streamlining inventory, and reducing labour, supply, and operational costs are the major benefits of healthcare supply chain management software. There are mainly two types of healthcare supply chain management technology solutions, enterprise resource planning systems and niche healthcare inventory and healthcare supply chain management solutions. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems ERP systems are not the best for healthcare supply chain management specifically because these systems are used in many industries. Also, the concerned vendors often do not have the required healthcare expertise. As this is mainly implemented by larger and non-healthcare related businesses, it may take a longer time to implement. Also, it requires dedicated customization resources. This makes it inflexible for the healthcare industry supply chain management. Niche Healthcare Inventory and Supply Chain Solutions This type is known as the best-of-breed healthcare supply chain management solutions. They provide healthcare-directed and flexible solutions as they are affordable and incorporate deeper industry knowledge. These systems can also focus on specific areas such as interventional medicine, surgery, and other healthcare departments. Why Should Hospitals Invest in Healthcare SCM Technology Although hospitals and other healthcare organizations have demonstrated excellent performance in fighting COVID-19, the pandemic exposed vulnerabilities in the present healthcare supply chain management process. Supply shortages, especially lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), highlighted how poor healthcare supply chain management affected healthcare providers. The underlying concern behind the supply shortage is that hospitals’ supply chains are not well prepared for the future of healthcare. Organizations are depending upon old models, which are not innovative, agile, or advanced enough to cater to the requirements of the modern data and technology-driven world. Automating Healthcare supply chain management will be a major differentiator for hospitals at present and in future, impacting all aspects, including brand reputation, consumer trust, and quality of care. Healthcare leaders, such as organization heads and hospital administrators, require a new healthcare supply chain management system to deliver care at a lower cost. To realize this requirement, they have to make bold decisions and speed up the transformation of their healthcare supply chain. Acceleration of healthcare supply chain management transformation will be grounded in many imperatives, which are related to process, people, and technology. The digital transformation focusing on these areas will fasten the long-term growth and sustainability of healthcare supply chain management. Digital Transformation to Raise Healthcare Supply Chain to New Levels The Healthcare industry has given importance, other than information systems and key enterprise technologies, to electronic health record platforms in the last decade. Currently, the healthcare industry is on the brink of a digital revolution. Several technologies, such as robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML), are opening new doors for healthcare organizations to evolve to a level beyond anything previously imagined. It will surely affect healthcare supply chain management. However, the healthcare supply chain has not yet kept pace with changing technologies. To create a fully developed supply chain, hospitals should find innovative ways to integrate their physical process with digital data. Hospitals should start using tools such as predictive analytics along with digital statistics and information to drive decisions. Investing in this technology integrated healthcare supply chain management, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations will help achieve optimal benefits. However, it needs an efficient deployment of new technologies, such as the integration of ML and AI, and maintain a functioning healthcare system. Collaboration Between People and Technology for Better Results Years of operating in traditional systems has delayed the progress of healthcare supply chain management. As the consequences of running out of stock can be devastating in the healthcare system, leaders and clinical professionals have to look at supply chain differently. The COVID-19 pandemic has elevated and strengthened the necessity of better collaboration. Now leaders need to act timely to solidify these changes, brought out by the pandemic, to stop people reverting to behaviours that were problematic in the past. Automation will make the future of the workforce and supply chain workflows more efficient. The greatness of the impact on future healthcare supply chain management performance depends upon the greatness of the automation of work. Hospitals should highly focus on technology to perform various repetitive tasks, including delivering patient food trays, gathering supplies and bringing them to caregivers, picking case carts, and transporting supply carts to storage rooms. Staff efficiency is increased, when repetitive tasks and predictable work are automated and performed by robots. This helps staff focus on more complex tasks that drive innovation and value. Digital transformation occurs only when there is strong leadership and a conducive culture. Hospitals should realize the value of data in decision making and change their view about the supply chain leader. Modern healthcare supply chain management leaders are those who excel in education, governance, collaboration and communication, and change management. In hospitals, the supply chain management leader position should be elevated to executive level and they should be capable of using modern technologies for effectively handling the healthcare supply chain management process. The Future of Supply Chain Operations The sole aim of effective healthcare supply chain management has been finding the lowest cost products for the end-user without considering much about the profit of the manufacturer. The alarming product shortages and supply chain disruptions during the pandemic have changed that. Now, leaders are much more focused on how to diversify manufacturer product origins. Technological advancements and digital transformation will encourage the efforts to evolve vendor and inventory management, which is evident in procure-to-pay strategies. In case of procure-to-pay strategies, hospitals can reduce cost and increase efficiency by integrating technology assistance in areas such as accounts payable, including invoice discrepancies, match exceptions, and placing purchase orders electronically. In hospitals, healthcare supply chain management should evolve quickly to forecast and adjust the changing flow of patient volumes and care sites. Increased acute care in the home, utilization of telehealth, and remote patient monitoring will surely change demand for care facilities and supply demands from consumers. Efficiently catering to these requirements with the assistance of the latest technologies will determine the future of hospitals and healthcare supply chain management. In the healthcare supply chain management, technologies will play a vibrant role in boosting competence and reducing cost from now. Get yourself updated to avoid getting outdated! Frequently Asked Questions What is the value of supply chain management in healthcare? The healthcare supply chain management process ensures the right time availability of medicines, maximizing patient care, minimizing inventory wastage, and minimizing human errors. Healthcare supply chain management ensures timely availability of medicines for all patients at right time at lower cost possible. What are the 5 basic components of supply chain management? The five basic components of supply chain management are plan, source, manufacture, deliver, and return. Through these five components of supply chain management hospitals ensure the availability of all the medicines in hospitals. Shortage of essential medicines and other articles brings total chaos to the system. Why is Supply Chain Management important for a hospital? Supply chain management is essential for hospitals and other healthcare organizations as it ensures the availability of medicines and medical equipment so that patients get access to all facilities in time. In order to keep a consistent patient experience, an efficient supply chain management is necessary for all hospitals.

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Health Technology, Digital Healthcare

Choosing your health plan: HMO? PPO? Why not DPO?

Article | August 21, 2023

The fall is a time of renewals and choices. It is also a time of so called “open enrolment” for health plans. It is the one time of year we can study and learn about the options offered through employers or government sponsored plans. Individuals and small business owners alike are also are faced with a myriad of choices with confusing and often contradictory language promising lower premiums with higher out of pocket costs for covered services subject to deductibles. What does it even mean anymore when your monthly premiums exceed your pay check and you still have to pay for your colonoscopy or your insulin? Where is it all going? Let’s imagine you twist your ankle playing basketball. You might go to an urgent care, receive an X-ray, probably be examined by a non-physician, and then referred to your primary care, who can’t see you for a few weeks but eventually sends you to an orthopaedic who takes another X-ray and treats your injury. Weeks have passed, multiple visits, time out of work, and co-pays, not to mention the out-of-pocket fees associated with imaging and perhaps a $100 ace bandage. What stops you from going straight to the ankle specialist in the first place? First, we have become conditioned to follow the directions dictated by the insurance companies, even when restrictions are not in place, patients have been convinced that stepping out of line will make all insurance promises null and void resulting in catastrophic bills and financial ruin. Second, the doctors and their office staffs have been conditioned to deny entry to any patient who does not have the proper referral, authorization, or identification. There are dire consequences for both if the insurance rules are not followed and fear keeps both sides aligned. The past two decades have seen an explosion of healthcare costs. Health insurance has become the single biggest line item second only to payroll for most businesses. It is no coincidence that as the government increased its role as payor with state subsidies, the prices have gone up. Much like college tuitions, when loans are easy to obtain and guaranteed by federal support, there is little to deter those in charge from increasing the price. After all, everyone is doing it, it must be OK, and even if students end up in debt, it will be repaid because they have received the value of a great education. Right? But unlike higher education, healthcare is a necessity. We cannot avoid it, and there needs to be a reliable mechanism in place to guarantee access. Ironically, as charges and prices have continued to escalate, payments to doctors have diminished. Why medicine is the only service industry where there is no transparency is truly astounding, especially since the there has been no increase in so called “reimbursements” for decades. As physicians, we have been complicit, being fully aware of the discrepancies between what is charged and what a patient’s insurance will pay. Even as patients began to have higher deductibles, and therefore higher out of pocket expenses, we continued to follow the rules, asking insurance permission to collect payment from the patient. It is not surprising that bad debt accounts for over 50% of most account receivables and why over 70% of doctors are now employed by hospital networks or private equity, who not only go after patients, but benefit from the repricing that occurs when insurers pay a negotiated amount as opposed to the charge. In other words, we pay more not just for less, but for nothing. But what if we twisted our ankle and went directly to that specialist and paid out of pocket a transparent price? What would it take for that to happen? Not much, the cost of care is predictable, and because payments have always been decreasing, most physicians have learned to be economical. Plus, out of pocket costs are capped by federal law, so no patient is really responsible for catastrophic bills. Charges inflate to cover overhead, but if payments were guaranteed and immediate, then the cost of doing business goes down. Add technologies like telemedicine to a practice and you have increased patient access to a doctor without adding more personnel. Direct pay doctors are emerging all over the country and have consistently offered better access and more affordable care. The bar is also being set by independent surgery centers and imaging centers who offer better outcomes at lower costs. Perhaps motivated by prohibitive pricing, better options have emerged that have moved patients away from expensive operating rooms to safe, office-based procedures. Even cutting-edge cancer therapies can be delivered at home, preserving more of the healthcare dollar for medical care rather than the complex system built to manage it. Competition and choice inevitably drive prices, but in a monolithic system the price is not negotiated, but instead it is set by only a few, in this case the big insurers. Small businesses cannot compete when bigger companies come to town. Eventually, the local hardware store gives way to a national brand, and the consumer is left with fewer choices and eventually higher prices. Amazon disrupted this equation by creating a marketplace for individual buyers and sellers. The convenience of finding a trusted brand, no longer available locally, is irresistible and the reason why we became loyal consumers. Healthcare is no different. Trust exists implicitly between a physician and patient, because it is an authentic, empathetic, and logical relationship. Trust does not exist between a patient and their insurer, on the contrary it is an unsympathetic business relationship without transparency or consistency. Few doubt the insurance company’s top priority is the premium, not the patient. Creating a direct relationship between the doctor and patient is a common-sense approach that serves both stakeholders well, and requires merely a fair and affordable price. But do doctors have the capability or the will to do it and if so, can the rest of the system follow? Never in the history of modern medicine have physicians been more dissatisfied. US healthcare used to lead the world in innovation and outcomes, now we struggle to break the top thirty. We may have the most brilliant doctors and scientists with access to the best resources, but the need to maximize profits while catering to special interests, be they commercial or political, has led us to favour certain therapies over others despite marginal proven benefits. Doctors have little autonomy and less authority; prescribed treatments are routinely denied by insurance companies without a second thought or appropriate peer review. In fact, insurers even renamed us “providers”, a term used to by Nazis when referring to Jewish doctors to devalue them professionally. Over 56% of physicians are burned out, nearly all report moral injury and as hospitals have systematically replaced doctors with non-physicians with limited training, we have watched the standard of care deteriorate. It is no wonder we have witnessed the single biggest loss in life expectancy since WWII. The prognosis is grim, but there are solutions. We need to reinvent healthcare by removing the middleman. We don’t have to set the price, but we can make it transparent so patients can decide for themselves if it is worth the inconvenience, the delay, and the co-pay to use insurance or just pay directly. Health savings accounts are tax deferred and can cover an out-of-pocket maximum in just a couple of years. Paying for care means there are no surprise bills or out of network costs, because there are essentially no networks and therefore no need to follow restrictions. You’d be hard pressed to find a doctor or hospital unwilling to accept an immediate cash payment, especially when it costs nothing more than the service provided. There are no billing cycles, or claims to prepare, no up coding, or authorizations. Doctors free to care for patients, patients treated individually and not subject to protocols designed to maximize charges. There are literally thousands of direct pay primary care and specialists now available all over the country and they are building alliances with likeminded people providing imaging, ancillary services, surgery centers, and prescriptions all at fair market prices. More and more employers are moving toward medical cost sharing plans that not only lower the cost of care but the cost of administration. Even the biggest payor, namely the government, sees the benefit of price transparency and is piloting models of direct contracting. We will always need coverage for those unexpected events, emergencies, or hospital-based services, but all the rest - doctor visits, screening tests, and outpatient procedures - are easily affordable. After all, do we use our car insurance to pay for an oil change? If we did, the cost would be prohibitive and few of us would drive. But health insurers have lost our trust, they no longer cover necessary services and no longer honour contracts with physicians or patients. It is time to offer another option and let the patients and doctors get back to the real business of medicine.

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Healthtech Security

Innovation Insight for Healthcare Provider Digital Twins

Article | August 31, 2023

A digital twin is a digital representation of a real-world entity or system. The implementation of a digital twin is a model that mirrors a unique physical object, process, organization, person or other abstraction. For healthcare providers, digital twins provide an abstraction of the healthcare ecosystem’s component characteristics and behaviors. These are used in combination with other real-time health system (RTHS) capabilities to provide real-time monitoring, process simulation for efficiency improvements, population health and long-term, cross-functional statistical analyses. Digital twins have the potential to transform and accelerate decision making, reduce clinical risk, improve operational efficiencies and lower cost of care, resulting in better competitive advantage for HDOs. However, digital twins will only be as valuable as the quality of the data utilized to create them. The digital twin of a real-world entity is a method to create relevance for descriptive data about its modeled entity. How that digital twin is built and used can lead to better-informed care pathways and organizational decisions, but it can also lead clinicians and executives down a path of frustration if they get the source data wrong. The underlying systems that gather and process data are key to the success for digital twin creation. Get those systems right and digital twins can accelerate care delivery and operational efficiencies. Twins in Healthcare Delivery The fact is that HDOs have been using digital twins for years. Although rudimentary in function, digital representations of patients, workflow processes and hospital operations have already been applied by caregivers and administrators across the HDO. For example, a physician uses a digital medical record to develop a treatment plan for a patient. The information in the medical record (a rudimentary digital twin) along with the physician’s experience, training and education combine to provide a diagnostic or treatment plan. Any gaps in information must be compensated through additional data gathering, trial-and-error treatments, intuitive leaps informed through experience or simply guessing. The CIO’s task now is to remove as many of those gaps as possible using available technology to give the physician the greatest opportunity to return their patients to wellness in the most efficient possible manner. Today, one way to close those gaps is to create the technology-based mechanisms to collect accurate data for the various decision contexts within the HDO. These contexts are numerous and include decisioning perspectives for every functional unit within the enterprise. The more accurate the data collected on a specific topic, the higher the value of the downstream digital twin to each decision maker (see Figure 1). Figure 1: Digital Twins Are Only as Good as Their Data Source HDO CIOs and other leaders that base decisions on poor-quality digital twins increase organizational risk and potential patient care risk. Alternatively, high-quality digital twins will accelerate digital business and patient care effectiveness by providing decision makers the best information in the correct context, in the right moment and at the right place — hallmarks of the RTHS. Benefits and Uses Digital Twin Types in Healthcare Delivery Current practices for digital twins take two basic forms: discrete digital twins and composite digital twins. Discrete digital twins are the type that most people think about when approaching the topic. These digital twins are one-dimensional, created from a single set or source of data. An MRI study of a lung, for example, is used to create a digital representation of a patient that can be used by trained analytics processes to detect the subtle image variations that indicate a cancerous tumor. The model of the patient’s lung is a discrete digital twin. There are numerous other examples of discrete digital twins across healthcare delivery, each example tied to data collection technologies for specific clinical diagnostic purposes. Some of these data sources include vitals monitors, imaging technologies for specific conditions, sensors for electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocardiogram (ECG). All these technologies deliver discrete data describing one (or very few) aspects of a patient’s condition. Situational awareness is at the heart of HDO digital twins. They are the culmination of information gathered from IoT and other sources to create an informed, accurate digital model of the real-world healthcare organization. Situational awareness is the engine behind various “hospital of the future,” “digital hospital” and “smart patient room” initiatives. It is at the core of the RTHS. Digital twins, when applied through the RTHS, positively impact these organizational areas (with associated technology examples — the technologies all use one or more types of digital twins to fulfill their capability): Care delivery: Clinical communication and collaboration Next-generation nurse call Alarms and notifications Crisis/emergency management Patient engagement: Experiential wayfinding Integrated patient room Risks Digital Twin Usability Digital twin risk is tied directly to usability. Digital twin usability is another way of looking at the issue created by poor data quality or low data point counts used to create the twins. Decision making is a process that is reliant on inputs from relevant information sources combined with education, experience, risk assessment, defined requirements, criteria and opportunities to reach a plausible conclusion. There is a boundary or threshold that must be reached for each of these inputs before a person or system can derive a decision. When digital twins are used for one or many of these sources, the ability to cross these decision thresholds to create reasonable and actionable conclusions is tied to the accuracy of the twins (see Figure 2). Figure 2: Digital Twin Usability Thresholds For example, the amount of information about a patient room required to decide if the space is too hot or cold is low (due to a single temperature reading from a wall-mounted thermostat). In addition, the accuracy or quality of that data can be low (that is, a few degrees off) and still be effective for deciding to raise or lower the room temperature. To decide if the chiller on the roof of that patient wing needs to be replaced, the decision maker needs much more information. That data may represent all thermostat readings in the wing over a long period of time with some level of verification on temperature accuracy. The data may also include energy load information over the same period consumed by the associated chiller. If viewed in terms of a digital twin, the complexity level and accuracy level of the source data must pass an accuracy threshold that allows users to form accurate decisions. There are multiple thresholds for each digital twin — based on twin quality — whether that twin is a patient, a revenue cycle workflow or hospital wing. These thresholds create a limit of decision impact; the lower the twin quality the less important the available decision for the real-world entity the twin represents. Trusting Digital Twins for HDOs The concept of a limit of detail required to make certain decisions raises certain questions. First, “how does a decision maker know they have enough detail in their digital twin to take action based on what the model is describing about its real-world counterpart?” The answer lies in measurement and monitoring of specific aspects of a digital twin, whether it be a discrete twin, composite twin or organization twin. Users must understand the inputs required for decisions and where twins will provide one or more of the components of that input. They need to examine the required decision criteria in order to reach the appropriate level of expected outcome from the decision itself. These feed into the measurements that users will have to monitor for each twin. These criteria will be unique to each twin. Composite twins will have unique measurements that may be independent from the underlying discrete twin measurement. The monitoring of these key twin characteristics must be as current as the target twin’s data flow or update process. Digital twins that are updated once can have a single measurement to gauge its appropriateness for decisioning. A twin that is updated every second based on event stream data must be measured continuously. This trap is the same for all digital twins regardless of context. The difference is in the potential impact. A facilities decision that leads to cooler-than-desired temperatures in the hallways pales in comparison to a faulty clinical diagnosis that leads to unnecessary testing or negative patient outcomes. All it takes is a single instance of a digital twin used beyond its means with negative results for trust to disappear — erasing the significant investments in time and effort it took to create the twin. That is why it is imperative that twins be considered a technology product that requires constant process improvement. From the IoT edge where data is collected to the data ingestion and analytics processes that consume and mold the data to the digital twin creation routines, all must be under continuous pressure for improvement. Recommendations Include a Concise Digital Twin Vision Within the HDO Digital Transformation Strategy Digital twins are one of the foundational constructs supporting digital transformation efforts by HDO CIOs. They are digital representations of the real-world entities targeted by organizations that benefit from the advances and efficiencies technologies bring to healthcare delivery. Those technology advances and efficiencies will only be delivered successfully if the underlying data and associated digital twins have the appropriate level of precision to sustain the transformation initiatives. To ensure this attention to digital twin worthiness, it is imperative that HDO CIOs include a digital twin vision as part of their organization’s digital transformation strategy. Binding the two within the strategy will reinforce the important role digital twins play in achieving the desired outcomes with all participating stakeholders. Building new capabilities — APIs, artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies enable the connections and automation that the platform provides. Leveraging existing systems — Legacy systems that an HDO already owns can be adapted and connected to form part of its digital platform. Applying the platform to the industry — Digital platforms must support specific use cases, and those use cases will reflect the needs of patients, employees and other consumers. Create a Digital Twin Pilot Program Like other advanced technology ideas, a digital twin program is best started as a simple project that can act as a starting point for maturity over time. Begin this by selecting a simple model of a patient, a department or other entity tied to a specific desired business or clinical outcome. The goal is to understand the challenges your organization will face when implementing digital twins. The target for the digital twin should be discrete and easily managed. For example, a digital twin of a blood bank storage facility is a contained entity with a limited number of measurement points, such as temperature, humidity and door activity. The digital twin could be used to simulate the impact of door open time on temperature and humidity within the storage facility. The idea is to pick a project that allows your team to concentrate on data collection and twin creation processes rather than get tied up in specific details of the modeled object. Begin by analyzing the underlying source data required to compose the digital twin, with the understanding that the usability of the twins is directly correlated to its data’s quality. Understand the full data pathway from the IoT devices through to where that data is stored. Think through the data collection type needed for the twin, is discrete data or real-time data required? How much data is needed to form the twin accurately? How accurate is the data generated by the IoT devices? Create a simulation environment to exercise the digital twin through its paces against known operational variables. The twin’s value is tied to how the underlying data represents the response of the modeled entity against external input. Keep this simple to start with — concentrate on the IT mechanisms that create and execute the twin and the simulation environment. Monitor and measure the performance of the digital twin. Use the virtuous cycle to create a constant improvement process for the sample twin. Experience gained through this simple project will create many lessons learned and best practices to follow for complex digital twins that will follow.

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AI

How AI is levelling the playing field when it comes to gender and healthcare

Article | December 21, 2021

Global efforts to tackle gender inequality have grown in recent years. But there is still so much to be done. Figures from the United Nations show that outcomes for women and girls continue to lag across a range of issues, including poverty, education, work and health. And according to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, it will take 108 years to close the gender gap. Although healthcare is founded in objectivity and science, gender bias is still remarkably common. We wanted to understand more about female perceptions of healthcare, so we undertook consumer research that delved into the experiences of women compared to men. The results pointed to a clear disparity, finding that women are less likely to visit the doctor when they have symptoms of ill health and, in some cases, are taken less seriously when they do seek medical advice. Women being left behind According to our research, a significant proportion of British women feel disappointed in the healthcare they receive, with one in five reporting they weren’t taken seriously when presenting symptoms to a healthcare provider. What’s more, a staggering one in four said they are reluctant to seek medical advice at all for fear of wasting a GP’s time. These statistics suggest that, not only are female experiences of healthcare damaging their relationship with clinicians, but they could be eroding confidence in recognising and acting on warning signs and symptoms too. This sentiment is particularly evident when focusing on cardiac care. One in eight women (13%) feel ignored when presenting symptoms of heart disease to healthcare professionals, compared to just 4% of men. And of UK adults who have received a coronary heart disease (CHD) diagnosis, women experiencing symptoms were 55% more likely than men to visit the doctor multiple times before receiving a referral for further investigation. On top of this, women are five times more likely to receive a false finding from the cardiac stress tests that are traditionally used to assess heart health. “There does appear to be a gender bias in onward referral to secondary care and for diagnostics in the local area, which is influenced by the attending healthcare professionals’ risk assessment. Traditional teaching has led to gender bias, as we are programmed to attribute a lower level of pre-test probability and risk to females. This may have contributed to a general lack of awareness around cardiovascular health in women. For example, in a survey I carried out among more than 600 female employees working within North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, 82% said they didn’t feel informed about their cardiovascular health. Considering participants included some of the most medically informed women in the UK, the results speak volumes about how we view cardiac health among women.” - Dr Rebecca Schofield, consultant cardiologist at North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust These widespread misconceptions around heart disease and heart attacks are often exacerbated by what we see in the media – think of the countless TV stereotypes of male characters clutching their chests and falling to the floor. But given that CHD is responsible for one in 13 female deaths, it appears that public health efforts have failed to make people aware of the risks for women. It is, perhaps, not surprising then that 42% of women with CHD did not immediately recognise their symptoms as signs of heart disease. In short, women are missing out on time-critical diagnoses and treatment due to a lack of awareness and education among both healthcare providers and the public. Technologies making a difference Thankfully, progress is being made to improve healthcare outcomes for women. Innovative technologies are increasingly providing diagnostic solutions that can reduce incidences of human bias and give clinicians greater clarity on the presence or severity of different conditions in their female patients. For example, AI is already being used to detect diseases such as cancer more accurately. Its adoption is facilitating reviews and translations of mammograms 30 times faster, with 99% accuracy, reducing the need for unnecessary biopsies. There’s extraordinary potential for AI and healthcare, and it’s something the NHS continues to recognise, most recently with the launch of its Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab) and NHS England’s (NHSE) MedTech Funding Mandate. The latter aims to accelerate the uptake of selected innovative medical devices, diagnostics, and digital products to patients. As part of the NHS efforts, NHSE has mandated the HeartFlow Analysis for use in hospitals across England for patients, male or female, who might otherwise be sent for a cardiac stress test. The HeartFlow Analysis is a gender-neutral technology that takes data from a coronary CT scan of the heart and leverages deep learning (a form of AI) and highly trained analysts to create a personalised, digital 3D model of each patient’s coronary arteries. This then helps clinicians to quickly diagnose CHD and decide the appropriate treatment for patients of any gender. Time spent in hospital is minimised for patients and often layered testing and unnecessary invasive diagnostic procedures can be avoided. Final thoughts While AI is helping us tackle gender bias in certain areas such as oncologic and cardiac testing, healthcare professionals are not absolved of responsibility when it comes to confronting this problem. It remains incumbent upon clinicians to recognise unconscious bias that would deter them from referring women or minority patients for much-needed testing. Outside of the hospital, public health education efforts must expand so that far more of us can recognise shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain, and other symptoms beyond chest pain to be indicators of a heart attack in a woman. Knowing what to look for and overcoming personal bias that might lead to these signs being disregarded, may allow us to help one of the more than 100 women who will experience a heart attack in the UK today.

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Spotlight

Kennedy Health

Kennedy Health is an integrated healthcare delivery system providing a full continuum of healthcare services, ranging from acute-care hospitals to a broad spectrum of outpatient and wellness programs. A multi-site healthcare provider, Kennedy serves the residents of Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

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Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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Healthcare Analytics

Keystone Healthcare Partners Establishes Partnership with Trinity Medical to Expand Emergency Medicine Footprint into Louisiana

Keystone Healthcare Partners | February 05, 2024

Keystone Healthcare Partners a leading provider of emergency medicine, hospital medicine, critical care medicine, and telehealth staffing and management services, as well as revenue cycle management, recently announced that it has formed a partnership with Trinity Medical in Ferriday, Louisiana. Keystone's delivery of emergency medicine services at Trinity Medical will commence on February 1, 2024. This contract represents an exciting expansion of Keystone's regional influence into Louisiana; the company has managed contracts in Mississippi for decades. Glenn Adams, Keystone's CEO & Co-founder, notes, "We are excited to kick off another partnership with a client where we see opportunity for real impact. We've hit the ground running to shore up areas of frustration for the client and bring value-add and innovative solutions, such as Keystone Connect AI technology to the emergency medicine program." While the healthcare landscape has been challenging for rural and critical access hospitals, the two entities share a patient-centered ethos that will be paramount to the partnership. The two entities share a community- and patient-focus that is embodied by Trinity's motto, "People you know, caring for people you love." "We are very excited to start our partnership with Keystone Healthcare," states Keisha Smith, CEO of Trinity. "My goal for Trinity Medical has always been to provide our patients with the best healthcare and customer service possible in the Miss-Lou area. We feel that Keystone shares the same goals that we have and will be a true asset to our hospital. Henry Ford stated, 'Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.' We are looking forward to a long lasting, successful partnership with Keystone Healthcare." Trinity Medical, a 23-bed licensed facility, continues to grow and upgrade their services and facilities in addition to recruiting physicians to meet the growing needs of their expanding community. About Keystone Healthcare Keystone Healthcare™ is a leading provider of Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Critical Care Medicine and Telehealth clinical management services and staffing solutions for hospitals. We efficiently deliver high-quality, patient-centered care through strong physician leadership and involved management that drive our innovative and integrated business model. About Trinity Medical Trinity Medical is operated by Concordia Parish Hospital Service District No. 1. Trinity Medical, formerly Riverland Medical Center, opened in 1964 as Concordia Parish Hospital and has continuously served the residents of the area for more than 55 years. In addition to emergency and acute care, Trinity Medical offers surgical services, diagnostic imaging, infusion center, cardio-respiratory care, gastroenterology, lab services, otolaryngology, urology, and an in-hospital rehabilitation service as well as an extensive range of out-patient services, both diagnostic and for treatment.

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Digital Healthcare

UCI Health Reaches Definitive Agreement to Acquire Four Southern California Hospitals From Tenet Healthcare Corporation

UCI Health | February 02, 2024

The Regents of the University of California, on behalf of the University of California, Irvine, has entered into a definitive agreement with Tenet Healthcare Corporation to acquire Tenet's Pacific Coast Network. The network will become part of UCI Health, the clinical enterprise of UC Irvine. "UC Irvine has deepened its healthcare commitment to the future of Orange County, our region and California," said UC Irvine Chancellor Howard Gillman. "This journey in healthcare is deeply intertwined with the University of California's dedication to bettering our communities, expanding access to premier healthcare, and pioneering the medical innovations of tomorrow, today. Our vision will bridge gaps in regional care and reinforce UCI's place among the nation's leading academic health systems while advancing solutions to challenges facing healthcare." Pending customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions, the proposed acquisition would bring four medical centers in Lakewood, Los Alamitos, Fountain Valley and Placentia and associated outpatient locations into the UCI Health system. UCI Health currently delivers care at UCI Medical Center in Orange and a growing network of multispecialty care centers. "At UCI Health, we are excited to add these new care sites to the UCI Health network and extend the benefits of our compassionate, high-level care, clinical innovation, and scientific discovery," said Chad Lefteris, president and chief executive officer of UCI Health. "As Orange County's only academic health system, UCI Health is unique in its ability to offer the highest level of advanced care powered by the research and innovation of a world-class public research institution." UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network. "These four hospitals are well-regarded in their communities for providing high-quality, compassionate care," said Saum Sutaria, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Tenet Healthcare. "The local communities will benefit from the nationally recognized advancements, medical knowledge, research, and community focus that UCI Health brings as an innovative academic health system. UCI Health recognizes a unique opportunity to build on the quality care already being delivered in the communities served by the Pacific Coast Network." In a region with a population greater than that of two dozen states, UCI Health operates the only Level I trauma center, locally based National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal-neonatal service and is the largest regional burn center and leading provider of complex tertiary and quaternary care. The system's clinical excellence has consistently placed UCI Health in the top 10 for quality and safety among the nation's leading comprehensive academic health systems. The acquisition also means more patients will have access to advanced therapies in the region's largest and most diverse portfolio of clinical trials, ranging from cancer to neurosciences, digestive diseases, orthopedics and internal medicine specialties. UCI Health and Tenet Healthcare's Pacific Coast Network patients can continue receiving care at their local facilities as they normally would from the care teams they know and trust. The transaction is expected to be completed in spring 2024, subject to customary regulatory approvals, clearances, and closing conditions. "It is a privilege to provide world-class care to Californians and we are excited to welcome the clinicians and co-workers from these Tenet Healthcare sites to UCI Health as partners in improving the health of local communities," Lefteris said. About UCI Health UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America's Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County's only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center, gold level 1 geriatric emergency department and regional burn center. About UC Irvine About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation's top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It's located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. About Tenet Healthcare Tenet Healthcare Corporation is a diversified healthcare services company headquartered in Dallas. Our care delivery network includes United Surgical Partners International, the largest ambulatory platform in the country, which operates or has ownership interests in more than 480 ambulatory surgery centers and surgical hospitals. We also operate 58 acute care and specialty hospitals, approximately 110 other outpatient facilities, a network of leading employed physicians and a global business center in Manila, Philippines. Our Conifer Health Solutions subsidiary provides revenue cycle management and value-based care services to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, employers, and other clients. Across the Tenet enterprise, we are united by our mission to deliver quality, compassionate care in the communities we serve.

Read More

Health Technology

Beckman Coulter Unveils DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, Expanding Portfolio with Proven Six Sigma Performance

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics | January 30, 2024

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, a clinical diagnostics leader, will unveil its new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer, an automated clinical chemistry analyzer, at Medlab Middle East in Dubai, taking place February 5-8, 2024. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is one of several recent Beckman Coulter solutions designed to address the complete needs of healthcare systems that are looking to complement central hub laboratories by advancing the technology and capabilities of satellite and independent hospital laboratories. "Healthcare systems around the world are strategically adopting hub-and-spoke models for better efficiency and healthcare access," said Kathleen Orland, Senior Vice President, Business Unit, General Manager, Chemistry and Immunoassay for Beckman Coulter Diagnostics. "Hub-and-spoke clinical laboratory models optimize resources to improve access to testing services and enhance overall standardization for quality testing and positive impact on inventory and cost management across a health system. The new DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer advances capabilities of spoked labs with a broad menu of high-quality assays that deliver consistent, commutable results across Beckman Coulter's AU clinical chemistry systems, positively impacting clinical decision-making and patient outcomes." The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer features advanced automation technology, onboard guided workflows, and standardized reagents for use across healthcare networks. Its menu of more than 120 assays has been independently and objectively verified for high quality Six Sigma performance, supporting confidence in clinical results, reducing QC trouble shooting and lab operational costs. "Our Six Sigma assessment has shown that the DxC 500 AU analyzer easily exceeds the demands of the new, more stringent CLIA 2024 performance specifications," stated Sten Westgard, Director of Client Services and Technology for Westgard QC. The DxC 500 AU Chemistry Analyzer is for in vitro diagnostic use only. It is available throughout North America and the Middle East. Global commercial availability is planned for March 2024. About Beckman Coulter. Inc. A global leader in advanced diagnostics, Beckman Coulter has challenged convention to elevate the diagnostic laboratory's role in improving patient health for more than 80 years. Our mission is to Relentlessly Reimagine Healthcare, One Diagnosis at a Time – and we do this by applying the power of science, technology and the passion and creativity of our teams. Our diagnostic solutions are used in complex clinical testing, and are found in hospitals, reference laboratories and physician office settings around the globe. We exist to deliver smarter, faster diagnostic solutions that move the needle forward from what's now to what's next. We seek to accelerate care with an extensive clinical menu, scalable lab automation technologies, insightful clinical informatics, and optimize lab performance services. Headquartered in Brea, Calif., with more than 11,000 global team members, Beckman Coulter Diagnostics is proud to be part of Danaher. Danaher is a global science and technology leader. Together we combine our capabilities to accelerate the real-life impact of tomorrow's science and technology to improve human health. ©2024 Beckman Coulter. All rights reserved. Beckman Coulter, the stylized logo, and the Beckman Coulter product and service marks mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Beckman Coulter, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

Read More

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