Collaborative communication in healthcare
It’s probably safe to say that one of the biggest problems facing healthcare is related to how medical professionals communicate. The movement of information has to be exact and timely. Indeed, information flow is vital across the entire healthcare environment. That’s why Think Research designed a collaborative healthcare network for sharing and managing clinical content.
Built by a doctor to solve a problem
Back in 2001, Dr. Chris O’Connor, a critical care physician in Ontario, recognized the problems associated with passing along physician orders via hand-written notes. This practice was time-consuming, error-prone, potentially inconsistent, dangerous, and it created liability. To combat these problems, he began developing automated Patient Order Sets, initially for use in intensive care units and later for other hospital departments. Today, Think Research is a well-established healthcare IT provider building its future on IBM Cloud.
Partnering with IBM Cloud
“IBM is our preferred partner. We have some collocated data centers but we are actively folding them into the IBM cloud,” said Darace Rose, Vice President of IT Operations at Think Research. “Our IBM partnership has been well received from a sales perspective in Canada and for our American clients,” Rose said. “For them, IBM is already an IT provider or a trusted advisor; that helps us sell to decision-makers at hospitals, long-term care facilities, and even individual doctors,” he added.
It helps, too, that Think Research has been consistently impressed with the reliability of IBM Cloud. Other providers “don’t have that consistency,” said Rose. Think Research’s previous hosting provider suffered a network connection failure which severed all contact between Think Research and its data center. “I had been under the impression, because the contract indicated that all connections were redundant, that we wouldn’t have that problem,” admitted Rose. “With IBM, I don’t worry. Not only are they on independent power supplies, they even have connections with multiple telcos at tier 3 and above, so I can sleep at night,” he says.
Expanding geographical reach
By building on that confidence, Think Research has continued to enhance its offerings and broaden its geographic reach. The original Patient Order Sets have grown to become robust, evidence-based checklists. Now referred to simply as Order Sets, these sophisticated tools translate the most current medical information into usable recommendations that clinicians can reference at the point of care, improving quality and safety while cutting costs. TxConnect, the online platform from Think Research, supports collaboration and knowledge sharing across healthcare organizations in its network. And, in an unexpected development, the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections (which operates prisons in the province) reached out to Think Research and asked the company to adapt its solution to a unique humanitarian mission—ensuring that prisoners (particularly those in solitary confinement) are checked at regular intervals for their health and safety by prison officials. “We were surprised when they reached out to us, but it was important from a humanitarian standpoint, so we delivered what they requested,” said Rose.
Innovation on the horizon
Today, with over 800 clients using or implementing Think Research solutions, healthcare organizations across Canada, the United States, and elsewhere are relying on the connectivity and insights that Think Research delivers. On the horizon is EntryPoint, a cloud-based platform linking applications, such as Order Sets, with health information systems at each individual institution. All of this growth requires scale. This, again, is where IBM plays a vital role because of the massive scale of its deployments in the marketplace. “We don’t have an issue if we need to grow tomorrow in Texas or Ireland or Toronto. We know what we can deliver for our customers,” said Rose.
International opportunities and compliance
According to Rose, Think Research is working with the government of Ireland and the National Healthcare Service of the UK as well as exploring other opportunities in Europe. In addition, the company is in active discussions with Malaysia and Australia to deploy its solutions in those nations. “Another positive about working with IBM globally is that for organizations concerned about regulatory compliance requirements from an infrastructure perspective, compliance with standards such as ISO/IEC 27001 Information security management and SOC2 is available to any data center operating under the IBM Cloud umbrella,” said Rose.
“That helps both with our clients and with their security contractors. Once we mention that we are built on the IBM Cloud, there are no other questions,” he added.
Getting smarter with Watson
Looking to the future, Think Research is now exploring how to enhance its security posture using IBM Watson to help deliver predictive threat assessments from its SEIM system. And Watson could even become an ingredient in future Think Research offerings, making them even smarter. “For an app that needs to be rolled out globally, IBM has been a great partner, especially for a company of our size and scale,” said Rose.
Learn more about the Think Research and IBM Cloud collaboration by viewing this spotlight video.