One key piece of health IT is the company's cloud-based Centricity Practice Solution electronic health records system. The Rio Games mark the first time all athletes from all nations at the Olympics will have their health records managed on a common EHR.
The U.S. Olympic team consists of 556 athletes, the largest team at the games this year, part of a U.S. contingent of about 1,200 total attendees, including coaches and other support staff and approximately 100 U.S. healthcare providers who look after them all.
In addition to its healthcare headquarters at the Olympic village, Team USA has healthcare units equipped with EHRs at “high performance training centers all over the city of Rio,” said Bill Moreau, managing director of the U.S. Olympic Committee's sports medicine division and chief medical officer of the U.S. team at the Rio Games.
With its network of cloud-based, interconnected EHRs, “we can have people all over collaborating, working together,” Moreau said. “I have an internal medicine specialist (Dr. Jason Blackham from Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City) an hour and a half from here, but literally we can consult with him through his EHR.”
The athletes' data are encrypted both when stored in the EHR system and in motion from point to point, according to Ron Pruitt, GE Healthcare's managing director for EMR implementation at Rio 2016 Olympics. The data also are backed up at an undisclosed site in the U.S., Pruitt said.
The Centricity EHR made its Olympic debut along with the U.S. team at the 2012 Summer Games in London and was re-deployed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. After seeing the 2014 networked EHR setup, the International Olympic Committee wanted to deploy it for its own healthcare operations at the 2016 Games, Pruitt said. GE has been working with the IOC on that installation for about two years, he said.
About $2 million worth of GE equipment will be donated to a Brazilian hospital after the Olympics ends next week.
Tools and templates designed by Team USA to support workflows for sports medicine and incorporated into the EHR also were donated and are now part of the EHR being used across the Rio Olympics. As part of that intellectual property, the team developed special forms to aid clinicians diagnose cases of the endemic Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses, although they've had no reported cases thus far, Moreau said.
Team USA has leveraged the data in its EHR for preventive sports medicine, which may have already benefited the four-member women's wrestling contingent at the Rio Games, Moreau said. About two years before the London Games, Moreau said he and members of the medical team began performing what he called “epidemiological studies of how injuries occur.” They looked at women in post-surgical rehab, and focused on the two most common injuries, torn ACLs in their knees and instability in their shoulder joints.
“The ACLs were occurring during warm-ups and in the defense of single-leg take downs,” Moreau said. During warm-ups, the women were getting into unstable positions with their knees under considerable stress. They eliminated that activity and introduced ACL stability exercises during warm-ups. As a result, over the past six years, Team USA has been able to reduce the number of surgeries to women's wrestling team members by 60%, Moreau said.
“What that means is, Team USA has the unique ability to do retrospective and prospective analytics,” Moreau said. “If we can get them to the competition healthy, they have the best opportunity to compete.”