GHX’s automated ordering software cutting costs

Global Healthcare Exchange LLC in Louisville wants to save $5 billion for its customers by 2014 – through automation.

Hospitals and other health groups pay Global Healthcare Exchange, or GHX, a subscription fee for the automated ordering service. Among regional participants in the program are Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, Boulder Community Hospital in Boulder and about 45 other hospitals and clinics in the Denver metro area.

An estimated 85 percent of the 4,000 licensed hospitals in North America, or a “critical mass,” orders through GHX software, said Bruce Johnson, the company’s chief executive and president. He characterized the company as one in a “trusted neutral environment” that can collaborate between distributors and hospitals.

Johnson said customers that use GHX’s software spend about $46 billion annually. GHX has been able to grow quickly by capitalizing on the medical industry’s slowness to standardize its ordering processes, he said.

The software also lowers error rates in ordering, Johnson said. So when individual hospitals and clinics maintain thousands of purchasing connections on their own, they can experience order error rates up to 40 percent; with the GHX content management system, the error rate is down around 13 percent.

“Ultimately, we want to get automated and flow without human intervention,” Johnson said.

Purchasing volumes have grown every year 18 percent to 20 percent, with 2012 expected to be no different, said company spokeswoman Cheryl Flury.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 made hospitals and buyers focus even more on how to cut their costs, Johnson said.

GHX started working on its goal to save $5 billion starting in January 2010. By December 2014 the company should know if it succeeded or not, Johnson said.

Want to lose weight?

It seems everybody I talk to has a favorite weight-loss tip.

A somewhat unusual device – an electronic motor on a stationary bike – could be the next big thing, said Rodger Kram, associate professor in the integrative physiology department at CU-Boulder, who has been involved in a variety of research studies.

With the latest device, you can sit at your desk and the device will move your legs for you, Kram said.

Sound a little offbeat? Even though you don’t feel like you’re doing much work, initial reports indicate the machine can double your resting metabolic rate — the rate your body burns calories — if you’re sitting in a chair, Kram said. As another benchmark activity, going for a walk triples your body’s metabolic rate compared with sitting in a chair, according to Kram.

Two researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder want test subjects willing to use the bikes. You have to already be sedentary, which the study is classifying as a person who does less than two hours of physical activity per week.

An exercise equipment company is sponsoring the study, but it also could have big ramifications for stroke patients, those who have had a spinal injury or anyone else who is unable to exercise, Kram said.

The study also will show how the passive cycling affects a person’s blood glucose levels, which often spike when the body is inactive.

“The problem isn’t that people don’t go running for six hours, but that we spend long periods of low activity, sitting,” Kram said. “Anything that shortens those periods of inactivity … will promote a better blood profile.”

To find out more, send an email to Kram at rodger.kram@colorado.edu.

Kudos to BCH

Boulder Community Hospital recently received the designation of being a primary stroke center from The Joint Commission, a national, independent nonprofit group known in the industry for its evaluation and accreditation tools.

The designation recognizes a hospital’s care for stroke patients from emergency treatment and diagnostic technology to acute and critical inpatient treatments, and rehabilitation services.

Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette received the designation recently. The Joint Commission, based in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, charges a fee to test a hospital to receive certification.

Bioscience cluster

Folks in the know are aware that Boulder County is a heavyweight when it comes to the number of drug research and medical device companies located here.

Now we have some more proof. The Colorado Bioscience Association has 69 member companies in Boulder, Broomfield, Lafayette and Louisville. That makes up almost 30 percent of the group’s membership.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or via email at bpotter@bcbr.com.

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