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Standards Boost Business: Case Studies
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Companies across the nation rely on standards and conformance to increase efficiency, reduce cost, and boost market access for their products and services. Here are a few examples of how standards and conformance offer strategic opportunities for increased efficiency:


The Army Materiel Command (AMC) develops, acquires, maintains, and distributes materiels needed by warfighters from idea to factory to foxhole, including meals, uniforms, ammunition, communications, and weapons systems.

In 2007, a central library was created to consolidate all standards-related information to be managed by a single office and accessible to the entire AMC enterprise through a web-based portal, supporting a buy once but use often approach to standards and specifications. The program is now serving more than 20,000 engineers and scientists.

Not only are quality, access, and oversight greatly improved, but a substantial $3.5 million per year in cost avoidance is achieved. Furthermore, the significant reduction in cost and the improved management of government-owned intellectual property increased the stability, security, access to, and use of standards-related information across the AMC enterprise. In addition to cutting its costs, AMC cut research time reducing the users’ need for the services of scientists and engineers, an additional cost avoidance of more than $2.5 million per year.

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– Army Materiel Command
Army Materiel Command

In the 1970s, hospitals began using computers to process digital medical images. Initially, most devices stored images in a propriety format and transferred these files over an internal network or on removable media. These incompatible systems made images inconsistent and sharing information difficult, expensive, unreliable and inefficient. In order for physicians, hospitals and patients to fully reap the benefits from digital medical images and information, the medical community called for interoperability and a standard method for transmitting medical images and their associated information.

In 1983, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) formed a joint committee to create a standard method for transmitting medical images and their associated information. Within ten years the standard grew to utilize computer network standards and was renamed Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM). DICOM includes standards not only for images but also for patient records, studies, reports and other data groupings, and has contributed to improvements in image quality and presentation consistency.

The DICOM standard permits the transfer of medical images in a multi-vendor environment; provides a strong base for developing and expanding picture archiving and communication systems; and supports interfacing with medical information systems. DICOM is utilized in virtually every medical profession that uses images including cardiology, dentistry, endoscopy, mammography, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pathology, pediatrics, radiation therapy, radiology, surgery, as well as veterinary applications. As patient information transfers to digital forms, all Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems that include imaging information as part of the patient record will require DICOM.

Ultimately, the benefit falls to the patient. Physicians have better access to images and reports allowing them to make a faster diagnosis, potentially from anywhere in the world. As a result, patients can obtain faster, more effective care.

- The DICOM Standard’s Development and Maintenance is Managed by the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA)
digital medical images

Since 1938, luxury automaker Bentley has housed their entire operations – from design to production to sales – in one historic location in Crewe, England. Throughout the years Bentley has faced the challenge of updating their famous plant to meet the standards of modern motor manufacturing, while at the same time leading the industry in engineering, skills, employment, and environmental performance.

To develop an energy monitoring system through a measurable, systematic approach, Bentley implemented ISO 50001: 2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, a voluntary international standard that establishes a framework for small and large industrial plants, and commercial, institutional, and government facilities to improve the way they manage energy, including energy performance, efficiency, use, and consumption.

By implementing ISO 50001, Bentley has been able to establish sophisticated energy monitoring systems, target areas of energy fissures, and create strategies for improvement in areas covering the use of their boiler and compressed air systems, technology, heating and lighting, insulation, and more efficient variable speed drives on new cars. As a result, Bentley reduced energy usage by two-thirds for each car produced and by 14% overall for the entire plant, delivering savings of 230 GWh of energy – enough to power 11,500 houses for a year.

– International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

The Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) faced the challenge of linking millions of records from numerous different facilities using various information systems to create a cohesive patient-centric view of information. DFWHC was previously limited to analyzing information at the encounter rather than the patient level. This made it impossible for DFWHC to look at all visits for a single patient within or across entities and limited the ability to analyze data and identify trends.

DFWHC worked in partnership with QuadraMed to implement QuadraMed’s Smart I/X EMPI (enterprise master person index) software for record matching. This resulted in the ability to link inpatient to outpatient hospitalization encounters, link multiple outpatient encounters, calculate readmission rates, link research data to inpatient and outpatient databases, support research activity to improve healthcare delivery, track infections, and develop episodic metrics and analytic capability to evaluate chronic illnesses models.

DFWHC was ultimately able to link 7.4 million records from 136 hospitals, achieving a patient-centric view of inpatient and outpatient clinical information for research and reporting that can be used to evaluate and improve patient safety and care across the region. These advancements have led to the beginning stages of a regional health information exchange (HIE). And because the regional EMPI conforms to Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) profiles, which organize and leverage the integration capabilities that can be achieved by coordinated implementation of communication standards, it can be expanded to manage a future HIE.

– Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council; Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE)
Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council

During the 1980s, the Army was using more than 350 different types of 1.5-volt to 30-volt batteries, consuming nearly 20% of a typical Army unit’s annual budget. In 1996, the Army spent $100 million on batteries and battery expenditures, and portable power requirements of the digitized battlefield were increasing the demand for more powerful primary and rechargeable batteries. A 1996 audit cited that, during a three year period, the Army could reduce expenditures 66% by using rechargeable batteries for training, and could save another $1.9 million if five selected units switched solely to rechargeable batteries.

Through standardization of primary and rechargeable batteries, the Army achieved a higher level of battery interchangeability and unit readiness within military units and across joint and combined operations. The Army decreased battery types used from more than 350 to 35, with a goal to standardize to 25. The Army now spends $75 million a year on battery purchases for all applications, a 25% reduction from its 1996 baseline. During the first four years alone, the Army saved more than $43 million, of that more than $30 million was related to rechargeable batteries. In the end, the Army met audit expectations by reducing expenditures on batteries by 66% over a three year period.

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– U.S. Army
Army batteries

The financial services industry benefits in many ways from standardization. Banking and financial transactions (card/retail, corporate, credit, payments, securities, etc.) are made up of standards, including codes, transaction sets, data, and more.

Banks and financial services companies rely on data security standards to protect transactions. Standards allow financial transactions to flow with "straight through processing" in an efficient, effective, and secure manner.

– Accredited Standards Committee X9, Financial Industry Standards
financial security

CCP Composites is a world leader in the production and distribution of gel coats, composites polyester resins, coatings resins, and emulsions.  Between 1998 and 2005, the company’s Houston, Texas synthetic resin manufacturing plant experienced a dramatic increase in energy expenditures, with an escalation of more than 100% in annual energy costs.  And in 2008, energy was the second largest cost for the plant, accounting for about 20% of the plant’s operating budget.

To help control these exorbitant costs, CCP Composites partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office (formerly the Industrial Technologies Program) to implement a management system for energy in accordance with the Superior Energy Performance (SEP) program.  SEP provides facilities with a roadmap for achieving continual improvement in energy performance while maintaining competitiveness by use of a transparent system for verifying energy performance improvement and energy management practices through the application of ISO 50001: 2011, Energy management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.

CCP Composites’ Houston plant achieved a 14.9% improvement in energy efficiency over a two-year period; 31,700 million British thermal units of energy saved; and $250,000 in cost savings per year.  The Houston plant became an SEP Gold Certified Partner in 2010 using ANSI/MSE 2000:2008, an American National Standard for Energy Management Systems, and has a management system in place to proactively manage the facility’s energy resources in the future so it will continue to sustain improvements in energy performance.  CCP plans to become recertified using ISO 50001.

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–– U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Superior Energy Performance (SEP)
U.S. Department of  Energy (DOE) Superior Energy Performance (SEP)

MedCentral Health System in Ohio needed to streamline its chart abstraction functions to enable it to efficiently meet increasing federal and state core measures reporting requirements. They were looking for a tool that would integrate seamlessly into their current clinical and financial departments and ancillary information systems.

Previously, MedCentral had no data mining applications; they relied on manual chart abstractions. Manually abstracting information buried in many different systems from many different departments can swamp healthcare organizations and poses a serious obstacle to calculating and reporting core measures in a timely manner. And when patient-quality issues are identified, isolating contributing factors can be an arduous task, dramatically slowing down and impeding the ability of a hospital to correct quality problems.

MedCentral looked to Siemens Soarian® Quality Measures for a solutions. Soarian® Quality Measures uses Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) interoperability specifications in its methods for obtaining patient clinical information, and then evaluates and reports on quality measures based on that information.

By adopting the HITSP specifications and initiating use of EHR technologies, MedCentral’s core measures reporting requirements became less burdensome to facilities and enhanced the reporting processes. In addition, MedCentral experienced improved accuracy of chart abstractions and is now positioned to more effectively manage patient quality issues.

– Siemens; Healthcare Information and Management Systems (HIMSS) Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE)
Siemens

Health care information standards enable pathologists to create and share information in a manner that is cost-effective and of high quality, promoting patient safety and re-use of health care information.

– College of American Pathologists
College of American Pathologists

Beyond the bottom line: standards impact quality, lead-time, factory flexibility, and supply chain management.
Standardization and conformity assessment activities lead to lower costs by reducing redundancy, minimizing errors, and reducing time to market.
Demonstrating compliance to standards helps your products, services, and personnel to cross borders. Standards also make cross-border interoperability possible, ensuring that products manufactured in one country can be sold and used in another.
 
Businesses not only reduce the economic risk of their research and development activities by participating in standardization, they can also lower their overall R&D costs by relying on previously standardized technologies and terminologies.
 
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