UnitedHealth Group's Optum health services business has launched an open cloud platform to allow developers to create and host health care applications.
The cloud offers a developer toolkit with modules that allow doctors to maintain compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It also includes a toolkit for CIOs to enable deployment of internal and external applications, as well as templates to build a master patient index.
A dashboard enables health professionals to access patient information and various applications they use on a daily basis to form their care plans for patients. They can access email, text and video messages, as well as schedules and a health app marketplace.
"The dashboard provides a user-friendly interface where users can manage their information, work, time and the applications they use," Ted Hoy, senior vice president and general manager of cloud platforms at Optum, wrote in an email to CIO Insight sister publication eWEEK.
The health care cloud could also connect patient applications with biometric monitors and the health information systems of doctors, hospitals and health plans.
It also allows caregivers to coordinate care with specialists and patients using secure text and video chat capabilities. Doctors can use the messaging tools to send notifications to care teams. These communication capabilities could allow doctors, nurses and hospital administrators to meet government Accountable Care Organization (ACO) guidelines, in which doctors coordinate care and are reimbursed for quality of care for Medicare patients, rather than being paid per visit.
Optum's health cloud could enable health care organizations to reduce some of the costs and time required by creating apps and bringing them to market, said Hoy. The cloud could also alleviate some of the compliance obstacles, he added.
The Optum health cloud uses Cisco's networking and security, EMC enhanced Java and virtual machines, IBM back-end data processing and business intelligence applications, and HP servers and analytics, Hoy noted.
This article was originally published on 02-17-2012