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Sarasota Memorial First to Use New Software Interface to Help Cut Costs, Save Lives, in Hospital ICU.

MCLEAN, Va.--(BW HealthWire)--Dec. 8, 1999--

APACHE Medical Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMSI), announced today that Sarasota Memorial Hospital is the first US hospital to interface two important health information technology (HIT) systems.

The technology breakthrough is helping to cut costs and improve patient outcomes in Sarasota's Critical Care Center.

The Sarasota, Fla., hospital recently "went live" with a software interface that links two sophisticated software products: APACHE's industry-leading Critical Care Series(TM) (CCS) and the popular CareVue clinical information system from Agilent Technologies.

Studies have shown that an award-winning implementation of earlier versions of this technology saved Sarasota Memorial more than $700,000 in just one patient category . . . while maintaining high levels of care. Hospital executives expect further savings and care advances with the new technology.

CareVue is developed and marketed by the Healthcare Solutions Group of Agilent Technologies, Inc. (NYSE:A), a subsidiary of Hewlett-Packard Company. (NYSE:HWP). APACHE is a leading provider of healthcare management systems and consulting services.

"The combination of APACHE and CareVue enables Sarasota Memorial to create an advanced patient care management and decision support infrastructure for critical care," explains APACHE CEO Peter Gladkin. "We anticipate that other CareVue customers will enthusiastically follow Sarasota's lead."

With the development of this interface, APACHE can demonstrate a more fully automated suite of critical-care capabilities. Hospitals using CareVue can now seamlessly link directly with the APACHE critical care system. These on-line interfaces enable hospitals to automatically upload clinical, financial, ADT (admission, discharge and transfer) and other data directly into the APACHE system.

"From a business perspective, this development positions APACHE as a company with a broader reach through enhanced partnering capabilities," adds Gladkin. "As the industry's `gold standard' critical care decision support vendor, we are always looking for ways to help our customers get the information they need faster and easier. Partnering with CareVue is an ideal way to achieve this."

"The ability to document and manage patient information in a meaningful way by a team of caregivers is crucial for our customers," says Anthony Ecock, general manager for Agilent Technologies' patient monitoring division. "Working with APACHE, we can provide even greater decision support to enable the best quality of care for patients and greater efficiency of care for clinicians."

Sarasota Memorial, first then, first now

Five years ago, Sarasota Memorial became the world's first hospital to interface CareVue workstations to APACHE's Unix-based critical care system. Today, it is the first to link CareVue to APACHE's new PC-based, Y2K-certified critical care system.

That original innovation earned the 845-bed full-service regional medical center a ComputerWorld Smithsonian Award nomination in 1996. Over the years, it has had a major impact on patient care quality and cost at Sarasota Memorial. Opened in 1993, the hospital's 62-bed Critical Care Center is one of the most technologically advanced centers of its kind in the Southeast.

"I said it back in 1994 and it holds equally true today," notes Jim Turnbull, DHA, FHIMSS, Sarasota Memorial's vice president and chief information officer. "The combination of these two systems is one of the most powerful combinations of technology at the bedside I've ever seen." (Turnbull was recently honored by ADVANCE for Health Information Executives as one of "Health Care IT's Most Influential People" for spearheading this and other equally important HIT initiatives.)

Critical information about critical-care patients

Sarasota Memorial has used CareVue to document patient data in their intensive care units (ICUs) since 1990. In 1995, they began using APACHE's computer-based clinical decision support system, which gives physicians and nurses a variety of information about ICU patients. In addition to the current status of the patient, this information includes retrospective (historical), concurrent (real-time) and prognostic (predictive) information.

The APACHE system uses the industry-leading, severity-adjusted APACHE III "Gold Standard" methodology, which predicts outcomes for adult critically ill patients. Through sophisticated, proven analytical and modeling techniques, APACHE provides physicians with risk-adjusted comparisons of patient length of stay (LOS), mortality risks, monitoring levels and response to treatment.

CareVue/APACHE Interface Benefits and Cost Savings

With the interface between CareVue and APACHE, Sarasota Memorial nurses are able to chart information on CareVue, including the specific data sets required for APACHE calculations. Thanks to the fully automated interface between the systems, actual and predicted details--and trend reports for each patient--can be printed and made available in a timely way to support patient care decisions. This individual patient information is placed on the patient's chart daily for use during rounds, and can be a significant part of building a consensus about the best course of treatment for the patient. With CareVue, this information can now also be displayed at the individual patient's bedside.

"Having these resources has helped us build a highly effective interdisciplinary care team and an evidence-based approach to clinical process improvement," notes Cindy Grimes, RN, the APACHE coordinator at Sarasota Memorial.

In APACHE, individual predictive equations are formulated using 27 physiological variables charted for each patient. Predictions are made regarding mortality, length of stay and need for an active treatment. This information is utilized on a daily basis to triage admissions, evaluate readmissions, and monitor actual and predicted mortality.

"The CareVue APACHE interface is a real timesaver for nursing and provides information for our physicians in making clinical decisions," adds Grimes. "Without this interface, hand calculation of a patient's physiological data would be required, which can be both time-consuming and costly."

"Being able to integrate the two systems and keeping staff informed of the positive impact on patient care are two of the many reasons this initiative has enjoyed tremendous 'buy-in' from nursing," says Lynn Whisman, RN, MBA, vice president and chief nursing officer at Sarasota Memorial. "This technology has helped us identify areas for process improvement and cost savings, and achieve sustained improvements in those areas."

Keeping the ICU free for those who need it

"The APACHE system is uniquely able to identify 'Low-risk Monitor(TM)' patients," explains Grimes. "APACHE defines LRM patients as those with a less than 10% chance of needing active ICU treatment during their stay. In other words, the APACHE system can scientifically determine which patients can be cared for safely--and more cost-effectively--outside the ICU."

Like other APACHE hospitals, Sarasota Memorial soon discovered that many of its carotid endarterectomy (CEA) patients were "LRM." (A surgical procedure involving removal of an obstruction in the carotid or neck artery due to arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, CEA helps prevent strokes and transient ischemic attacks.)

Sarasota Memorial nursing and medical staff use this information to direct CEA patients to areas of the hospital where they could receive more appropriate care at lower cost.

"In the past most CEA patients were automatically directed to intensive care," says Grimes. "APACHE data was used to help direct 12 percent of our CEA patients to non-intensive care units. Today, 71 percent now bypass the ICU completely without impacting outcomes."

"Sarasota Memorial has saved approximately $614,000 from July 1994 to-date thanks to this change alone. More savings accumulate daily."

"APACHE technology also helps in the very important area of 'Potentially Ineffective Care' patients," notes Sarasota Memorial's ICU Medical Director Bruce Fleegler, MD. "These are those difficult decisions that present themselves at the end of life when clinicians struggle with the decision to order more critical care or change to comfort measures. Bringing APACHE data to bear as an additional piece of information in the decision process can be very helpful to both physicians and families. In addition, while cost is not the primary focus of Sarasota's efforts in this area, our analysis indicates that savings might be anticipated in excess of $500,000 per year."

About APACHE(R)

Headquartered in McLean, Va., APACHE Medical Systems, Inc., is the leading provider of clinical decision support systems and consulting services for the care of high-risk, high-cost patients.

Internationally known for the APACHE scientific methodology, the Northern Virginia company provides specialized critical and acute care, cardiovascular and HIV/AIDS data, software and services to a variety of clients, including hospitals and health systems, government agencies and other entities. APACHE also offers software training and support; strategic, operations and clinical consulting services through its National Health Advisors division; and custom outcomes research services to pharmaceutical and biotech firms through its Health Outcomes Research division.

The company's popular Critical Care Series(TM) (CCS) enables hospitals to apply an evidence-based approach to achieve clinical performance excellence, substantially reduce cost and compete effectively under managed care. The CCS--which includes the Voyager(TM) and Discover(TM) software solutions--gives critical-care clinicians daily concurrent and predictive outcomes information for each ICU admission to help them improve care quality and control cost for high-risk patients. The system also has a retrospective tool that enables hospitals to perform severity-adjusted analyses. These analyses help APACHE clients identify opportunities for improvement and measure the effect of change.

APACHE markets its products and services internationally. For information, call 703/847-1400 or 800/634-9379, email info@apa.com or visit www.apache-msi.com.

About Sarasota Memorial

Florida's second-largest public hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital is part of the community-owned Sarasota Memorial Health Care System (SMHCS). The hospital was accredited with commendation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Sarasota Memorial has also been repeatedly recognized for its innovative use of information technology. The hospital has been honored in three consecutive years by the ComputerWorld Smithsonian award nominating committee. In addition to its 1996 nomination by Hewlett-Packard for the original APACHE/CareVue interface, the hospital was nominated in 1997 for its E-CABG system by Computer Motion and in 1998 for its development of CareVISION by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Recently recognized by the Wall Street Journal and PBS for its efforts to prepare for Y2K, the hospital was among the first in the world to convert its imaging services to an electronic digital format, increasing the speed and accuracy of results for physicians and patients.

For information, visit www.smh.com.

About Agilent's Healthcare Solutions Group

Agilent's Healthcare Solutions Group is a worldwide leader in electro-medical clinical measurement and diagnostic solutions for the healthcare industry. The group has 5,000 employees and had revenues of more than $1.3 billion in its 1998 fiscal year. Agilent holds leading market share worldwide in patient monitoring, cardiovascular ultrasound imaging and for critical-care information-management systems. For information, visit www.agilent.com/healthcare.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies, Inc. is a diversified technology company, resulting from Hewlett-Packard Company's plan to strategically realign itself into two fully independent companies. With 43,000 employees serving customers in more than 120 countries, Agilent Technologies, as a subsidiary of HP, is a global leader in designing and manufacturing test, measurement and monitoring instruments, systems and solutions, and semiconductor and optical components. The company serves markets that include communications, electronics, life sciences and healthcare. The businesses comprising Agilent had net revenues of nearly $8 billion in fiscal year 1998. For information, visit www.agilent.com.

Other technology used

Sarasota's APACHE CCS runs on Sun Microsystems' E250 and E450 workgroup enterprise machines, which provide the power, expandability, reliability and availability features found in larger servers without the cost.

Based in Palo Alto, California, Sun (NasdaqNM:SUNW) provides systems, software, storage, support and services--as well as platform-independent Java(TM) and Jini(TM) technologies--that power the Net for business. For information, visit www.sun.com.

APACHE(R) is a registered trademark of APACHE Medical Systems, Inc.

Statements in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements under provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. The Company wishes to caution readers that the following important factors, among others, in some cases have affected, and in the future could affect, the Company's actual results and could cause its actual results in fiscal 1999 and beyond to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of the Company.

Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include but are not limited to the Company's having sufficient sales and timely collections to meet cash requirements and achieve profitability; ability to attract and retain key employees; success of its strategy to concentrate its product offerings on high-risk, high-cost patients; ability to timely develop new products and enhance existing products; ability to compete in the competitive and rapidly evolving healthcare information technology industry; ability to correctly estimate and manage its Year 2000 costs and liabilities; success of its marketing and consulting efforts and ability to effectively utilize its direct sales force; ability to protect proprietary information and to obtain necessary licenses on commercially reasonable terms; and ability to comply with and adapt products and services to potential regulatory changes.
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Date:Dec 9, 1999
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