Geisinger Health System And AstraZeneca Announce Joint E-Health Initiative To Reduce Cardiovascular Disease And Improve Patient Care

WILMINGTON, Del., May 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Most doctors agree that one of the best ways to fight heart disease is to identify those at risk and help to reduce that risk through healthier lifestyles and medical treatment. That’s just become easier through a joint initiative between Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System and AstraZeneca to pilot test an integrated electronic system designed to assist in the management of cardiovascular disease risk in the primary care setting.

Using this system, patients who are identified by their physicians as being at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) will begin to follow a customized patient self-care process beginning with maintenance of their personal electronic health record (EHR). This can help provide a comprehensive assessment of risk. Online tools will help patients understand how risk factors such as hypertension, smoking, and being overweight, can contribute to the risk of heart disease or heart attacks, and how changing those factors can reduce the risk. Patients will receive online customized risk-reduction education designed to motivate them to set goals for risk reduction. This new technology can also provide the physician with point of care expert decision support, and can facilitate monitoring of treatment adherence and patient progress towards goals.

“Managing CVD risk is a continuous process. It is not achieved in a single patient encounter,” said Dr. Walter Stewart, Associate Chief Research Officer for the Geisinger Center for Health Research and Rural Advocacy (CHRRA). “For decades we have been relying on an acute care health system to provide continuous care and while it works well, we believe that the electronic health record may open a new era for care and the ability to begin to think about how continuous care for chronic diseases can be delivered in a cost-effective manner.”

Results of the pilot initiative involving up to 1,000 Geisinger patients will be evaluated for effectiveness in risk reduction of primary and secondary CVD.

“In managing cardiovascular risk we have a great deal of knowledge. However, we simply have not developed the means that may ensure that CVD risk is systematically managed in primary care. What’s innovative about this initiative is that patients can work with their doctors to identify their particular risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and to also see how changing their lifestyle can impact those risk factors,” said Dr. Bruce Hamory, chief medical officer for Geisinger Health System.

“This work is part of an ongoing effort by AstraZeneca to develop technology-driven collaborative strategies that enable physicians and patients to work together in an effort to improve health outcomes through furthering patient education and CVD risk awareness. We realize that Health Information Technology innovations are a foundation for improved adherence and a cornerstone of appropriate pharmaceutical care,” said Roger Hyde, Vice President Managed Markets for AstraZeneca. “As a company we are committed to working with Geisinger Health System in developing interactive physician-patient solutions that will enhance patient health.”

This effort is the first joint collaboration in the field of consumer research and healthcare between Geisinger Health System, the nation’s largest not-for-profit rural physician-led healthcare system, and AstraZeneca, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies.

About Geisinger Health System

Geisinger has been a leader in electronic healthcare since the mid-1990s, investing more than $70 million in its “MyGeisinger” electronic health record - connecting 42 community clinics and two medical centers over a service area of nearly 25,000 square miles. The secure system allows Geisinger’s 650 physicians to view patient records, including lab tests and medical imaging, from anywhere in the world, and also provides HIPAA-compliant access to patients and outside doctors.

Leaders of Geisinger’s EHR implementation team have literally “written the book” on EHR technology, publishing, “Implementing an Electronic Health Record System” to address the many issues and opportunities an electronic health records system presents to medical organizations. Authored by Dr. James M. Walker, Dr. Eric J. Bieber, Dr. Frank Richards, and Sandra Buckley, the book is appropriate for medical organizations of all sizes - from one-person practices, to large health systems.

Geisinger’s EHR program has been featured in stories by both The Wall Street Journal and Modern Healthcare. Because of its effective use of technology, Geisinger has twice been named one of the nation’s 100 most wired hospital and health systems, and it was also cited by authors of a paper titled “External Incentives, Information Technology, and Organized Processes to Improve Quality: Results of the First National Survey of Physician Organizations,” published in the January 21, 2003 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) as one of the five to 10 organizations that “performed well in terms of using care management processes.”

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About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of over $21.4 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory, oncology and neuroscience products. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $9.6 billion healthcare business with more than 12,000 employees. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index.

For more information about AstraZeneca, please visit:

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CONTACT: Kellie Caldwell of AstraZeneca, +1-302-885-1435, or Alison Delsite Everett of Geisinger HealthSystem, +1-570-271-8083 or