April 02, 2001, 10:45 AM — About a year ago, John Glaser was in the hospital. Not an unusual place to find the vice president and CIO of Partners HealthCare System, a Boston-based company that manages 10 Massachusetts hospitals. But this time, Glaser was there to visit his wife. She had just undergone knee surgery and lay in the recovery room, emerging from her anesthesia fog. Suddenly one of her physicians stepped into the room and introduced himself. However, before Glaser could thank him for his work, the physician thanked the CIO for his. He recognized Glaser as one of the primary architects behind the hospital's provider order entry system (POES), an electronic check-and-balance system that warns doctors when their prescribed medications or tests might cause adverse reactions in patients (see "The Rx Files," Nov. 1, 2000). This homegrown system, first implemented at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital in 1993, has demonstrably improved patient care, cut health-care costs and was a 1996 Enterprise Value Awards winner. Partners is now planning to roll it out throughout their entire multihospital system. Smiling, the physician told Glaser, "I just want you to know that your system has really saved my ass a few times."
How's that for a testament to long-term value? Technologically, the Windows NT-based client/server system isn't particularly impressive -- not when compared to some of today's dazzling, state-of-the-art telemedicine systems. But strategically, as a means of improving medical care, POES has no peers. "This is one of those systems that feeds on itself," Glaser says.
Powrtrak Rolls On at Black & Veatch
This proprietary information system, built in-house by Black & Veatch's IT organization, helped the global engineering company complete projects faster, cheaper and with fewer errors than its competition, accruing an ROI of roughly $21 million from 1983 to 1997.
Black & Veatch has licensed Powrtrak to such companies as Taiwan Power (to the tune of $28 million in revenues), and the IT group that built it has been spun off into its own company, Black & Veatch Solutions Group.