Archive for August, 2010

Predicting Health IT Five Years Out

August 30, 2010

In an article in xConomy Seattle, there is a report from a meeting of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, reporting on the future of Health IT. Some key predictions:

  • “As we near 2015, many in the industry predict healthcare will see an integration of social media, cloud computing, and collaborative commons—creating resources that allow consumers to more actively engage with their health through information technology.”
  • “primary care facilities and hospitals are not capitalizing on the existence of electronic resources to provide better care for patients and improve efficiency for healthcare providers”
  • “Healthcare is the last bastion of mom and pop stores,” ?The first step in healthcare is to make everything digital,”  “The next step is to takes what’s digital, and make sense of it—to make some intelligence out of the information you already have.”
  • “Arguably healthcare is a data problem, and we’re trying “Scientists are not thinking of their data as an ingredient to the solution. They’re thinking of it as an ingredient to their next paper,”
  • “researchers will have to amend not only what they do, but how they go about doing it—the emphasis will become less about research and clinical data, and more about how that data is stored, accessed, and used”
  • “models could also use the power of social networks to give patients access to information and resources provided by other patients with similar conditionals—data that could help patients research and decide on a treatment plan, as well as help physicians make recommendations.”
  • “One example would be using personalized data from electronic medical records, combined with data from available studies, to create individualized predictive care models.”

All great ideas held back by cottage industry attitudes and slow adoption of EHRs and PHRs. My only question is, why can’t we have this sooner than 5 years?

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Open Notes Project – Right Thing or Wrong Question

August 18, 2010

The discussion of having doctors notes on one’s care readily available electronically was stimulated by a recent New York Times article titled, Should Patients Read the Doctor’s Notes? Roni Zeiger of Google Health challenges whether this is the right question.  For  e-Patients, it is both the wrong question or obviously the right thing to do. Transparency of medical records, now written into health care reform, is the obvious right thing to do but will take time for physicians to catch up to the idea. Granted that few patients even have access to a PHR tethered to and EMR, but at least those that do should have access to notes in the long run. If patients are to be full participants in their health care and treatment, they should know their doctors observations and treatment plans. As Roni Zeiger says this is one of  ”the best ways for the patient to understand and remember the doctor’s guidance.”

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IBM Initiative to Improve Healthcare Quality and Costs

August 6, 2010

Recently IBM announced a major initiative to address significant data problems in healthcare. Acknowledging the fact that data is in structured and unstructured format and from various sources, the task of integrating these data points into a individual dashboard format can enable better medical decision making.  One tool to enable this kind of data integration is their text analytics tools LanguageWare™ (LW) and Cognos Content Analyzer (CCA). Both of these were acquisitions by IBM in the past few years and it appears that they are now integrated enough to be used with large data sets in health care.  Analyzing unstructured information can benefit insurance companies as well. The tool looks like it combines natural language search and semantic technologies. The video illustrations the typical international approach of Big Blue.

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