New York and Walldorf, Germany - Health insurance companies may be able to collaborate next year with providers, public health authorities and pharmaceutical companies on a new health network being proposed by Germany-based business software provider SAP and Bermuda-based consulting firm Accenture.The Collaborative Health Network (CHN) network initiative will be based on SAP NetWeaver technology, which links a range of information and data. Designed to streamline the way health insurance companies and other stakeholders access, integrate and share information, the network will help organizations maintain reliable, accurate electronic health records that are accessible quickly by multiple parties, the companies said in a release. It will use an enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA) to help reduce IT costs and enable automated collaborative processes among industry participants. The first release of the solution will be available mid-2007, predicts the companies.

Industry experts expect the global healthcare industry to continue on its path of rapid technological advances. Gartner research projects that with a 4.6 percent increase in IT spending, healthcare will lead all other industry sectors in the growth of information technology in 2006.

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