IBM has announced that it will be collaborating with several large health care centers to help build a smarter health care system for ensuring patient safety, improving efficiency and reducing medical errors through electronic medical records (EMR).

Reducing healthcare costs and improving patient care through innovative systems for handling patient records is a major priority in The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, calling for $19 billion in grants and incentives for practices to invest in health IT. This is an effort to help cut waste, reduce the need to repeat expensive medical tests, and most importantly, to save lives. Deadly but preventable medical errors kill nearly 100,000 people each year — costing the U.S. as much as $29 billion annually. These issues are illustrated in a new video on YouTube explaining the opportunities for creating a smarter Health system.

IBM is helping more than 1,000 hospitals worldwide integrate and access new intelligence, making EMR become smarter with open technology. This can help them deliver smarter healthcare through real-time access to clinical and business information spanning multiple systems, as well as many sources of information such as digital imaging and laboratory results.

The health care systems are built on IBM open technology for integrating and managing medical data, as well as business intelligence tools for gaining new insight. The technology can also be used for medical personnel that can now have instant access to pertinent information to respond more quickly to patient requirements.

"Now is an important time for industry leaders to step up and contribute to healthcare reform and transformation. To accelerate achievement of such goals, IBM is teaming with our many business partners, alliances and key clients to drive the creation of integrated delivery systems, including electronic medical records, that help the worldwide healthcare system become more interconnected, instrumented and intelligent," said Dan Pelino, general manager, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences Industry. "In this regard, the enablement of EMRs as envisioned by the Obama Administration will help to link diagnosis, drug discovery and healthcare delivery systems to insurers, employers, communities and patients themselves."

Announced today, the hospitals collaborating with IBM include: Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Capella Healthcare, Trillium Health Centre, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. For more information on IBM, visit the company’s Web site.