EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research

Pablo Valerio, International Business & IT Consultant | 2/22/2013 | 14 comments

Pablo Valerio
Recently, I wrote an article about the cost benefits (or lack thereof) of Electronic Health Records (EHR) during the past few years in the US. While it is clear now that the promised savings for healthcare providers, patients, and the administration are fuzzy at best, the savings from EHR on medical research and drug testing are much clearer.

The UK has taken a leadership role in this area. Recently, they opened four eHealth Centers focusing on conditions such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. The centers share anonymized patient information with research firms and drug companies, saving millions in costs and years in time in medical trials, and helping identify potential treatment problems because of incompatible drugs.

Drug incompatibility is one of the areas where EHR has proven to be extremely helpful. It is impossible for a pharmaceutical company to identify potential side effects of combining a particular drug with the millions of other medications on the market. They usually test their products with other drugs prescribed to patients with the same condition, but they can't trust all drugs used to treat unrelated conditions, and some combinations can be dangerous taken together. Even without dangerous side effects, some drug interactions cancel the positive effect of one or both drugs.

With access to the records of thousands of patients taking different drug combinations, researchers can identify some side effects, such as rising blood-sugar levels, in some patients and check if there is a correlation with those patients taking another medication. The same can be applied to the effect of a particular drug in groups of patients of certain race or age.

"That's a remarkably rare opportunity to look at a population that has many other health issues going on," said Elizabeth A. McGlynn, director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research. "The sheer volume and the richness of the data will enable us to have insights that are beyond anything we could have had any other way."

There are some obstacles though. Electronic records need to be "de-indentified" before they can be used for research. But also researchers, in order to make the best use of the information in databases, need to be able to tell when they are looking at the same patient, which in the case of the US, may be stored in several databases.

We can't just dump large amounts of "anonymized" raw data in the hands of drug companies and insurers. Precisely because there are now so many different public datasets to cross-reference, anyone making an effort has a good chance of matching identifiable individuals. This information can be a gold mine for insurance companies, but not in the best interest of patients. New HIPAA rules also allow patients paying cash for some treatments to stop healthcare providers from sharing information with their insurers. That's why some countries are creating specialized government datacenters to collect and process all EHR before they can be shared.

These problems can be overcome. I believe healthcare industry CIOs, from drug companies to hospitals and insurers, need to start looking for ways to tap into this new source of savings for research, especially in light of other difficulties in making EHR cost effective. Biotech companies could speed up bringing new drugs and treatments. Then EHR can be really profitable.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
impactnow   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/26/2013 11:28:51 AM
EHR many gems
Its a great alternative use for EHR I would expect their is also much information about family history and behavioral items that could assist medicine in predicting the issues that might plague an indivudal as they age.
Susan Nunziata   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 11:38:32 PM
Re: Pablo is Right-Healthcare Costs are totally outta Control Today!!
@Ashish: The Time article is amazing. For more, you can see the article's author Steven Brill interviewed on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show here: Extended Interview: Steven Brill

 
Pedro Gonzales   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 10:55:22 PM
great news
This is  great news pablo. Altough, there are many issues still involve as you pointed out, I hope they get resolve and we can finally see some positive proven results from using EHRs. 
The_Phil   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 8:43:48 PM
Re: Pablo is Right-Healthcare Costs are totally outta Control Today!!
There are a lot of valid points in your comment.

THe pharmaceutical companies price the drugs so high because they spend so much on R&D and many of those drugs never actually make it to the market. So they recoup their costs with the one's that do make it.
David Wagner   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 6:26:19 PM
Re: One victory
@Sara- Agreed. i'm just sad that the point of EHR was to help patients. Clearly, we've failed at that on every level. But lo and behold, the people who we're supposed to protecting patients from, are th eones finding a way to use it the best.
Sara Peters   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 4:03:13 PM
Re: One victory
@Dave  Well I agree with you that "big pharma" wouldn't be my top choice, but I do think that patients can benefit from this. As Pablo said, no matter what kinds of research the pharmaceutical companies do before releasing a drug, there's no way that they can test every single case -- every single interaction, every single danger. So, at some point there's going to be a patient who runs into trouble, but doesn't know why. If EHRs and better data analysis can help pharmacists/physicians more quickly identify/diagnose these troubles, that's good news for patients.
David Wagner   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 2:15:27 AM
Re: Pablo is Right-Healthcare Costs are totally outta Control Today!!
@the-Phil- I don't think it is regultion. There is a lot of regulation.

I think it is a more difficult problem. If you look at the way other services are priced, you can put it on a traditional supply/demand curve in economics. Where the demand for the product meets the supply, that's the price. If you increase supply, price should go down or vice versa. Same with demand.

But the demand for healthcare is higher than for any product. You can't measure demand for life saving (or life improving) healthcare. The demand is infinite. The supply and the demand lines never cross.

no matter what the price is, people will pay it. So we're relying on the goodness of those making drugs or giving care to only take so much. Realistically, they have the right to whatever they offer because without it, we'd be dead. At the same time, of course, we can't give it all away and have the economy function.

So, the real trick is figuring out how to price somehting fairly when it is literally priceless.
David Wagner   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/24/2013 2:11:14 AM
Re: Pablo is Right-Healthcare Costs are totally outta Control Today!!
@eethtworkz- That Time article was eye opening, i think to the average American, but not the healthcare industry. For sometime, there's been a transparency movement boiling up among doctors and It professionals to help this very problem. Unfortunately, there's a lot of money at stake here and how to implement that transprency is still up in the air.

But I do believe the Time article is behind the growing opinion in the healthcare industry that something can be done about this. It remains to be seen if it happens.
The_Phil   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/23/2013 11:48:21 PM
Re: Pablo is Right-Healthcare Costs are totally outta Control Today!!
The real problems with healthcare is that there's no real regulation. Costs are so high because of the crazy amounts of fraud that occurs each and every day. That's what causes doctors, hospitals, healthcare, and insurance companies to charge such high rates. It's to try and recoup the exorbitant losses.

Especially when it comes to the entitlement programs sponsored by the taxpayers.
No one feel accoutnable to the loss of that $$$

I'm not a big proponent of more government BUT what needs to be some type of system of checks and balances so that the scales don't get tipped too much in any one person/groups favor.

Another terrible statistic is the amounts of time, $$$, and resources spent trying to clean up the systematic fraud and crookedness.
singlemud   EHR Reduces the Cost of Medical Research   2/23/2013 9:38:10 PM
Re: One victory
Same feeling here, cost reduction for big pharma may not benefit normal people. The question is: is this kind of data or who will collect the money if not
Page 1 / 2   >   >>


The blogs and comments posted on EnterpriseEfficiency.com do not reflect the views of TechWeb, EnterpriseEfficiency.com, or its sponsors. EnterpriseEfficiency.com, TechWeb, and its sponsors do not assume responsibility for any comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.

More Blogs from Pablo Valerio
Pablo Valerio   10/3/2013   36 comments
One of the factors keeping doctors from getting a complete picture of a patient's health condition is lack of patient cooperation. Patients are often advised by doctors to regularly record ...
Pablo Valerio   9/25/2013   21 comments
It's nearly impossible to do business anymore without access to huge amounts of data, whenever and wherever you want it. Yet cellular data roaming charges are pricey, WiFi spectrum is ...
Pablo Valerio   9/24/2013   20 comments
Aided by big-data and cloud computing, "personalized medicine" is enabling doctors and researchers to evaluate the potential of existing drugs in different individuals and make better ...
Pablo Valerio   8/28/2013   29 comments
A few weeks ago, Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Union for the Digital Agenda, warned that American cloud companies could lose $35 billion because of the NSA spying scandal ...
Pablo Valerio   8/21/2013   39 comments
A new study by researchers from the MIT Sloan School of Management, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and NYU Stern School of Business shows that many people like or give positive ...
Latest Archived Broadcast
We talk with Bernard Golden about accelerating application delivery in the cloud.
On-demand Video with Chat
Register for this video discussion to learn how tablets can provide true business usability and productivity.
4/29/2014 - Join Dell and Intel for an interactive discussion about implementing, refining and improving your virtual environment. Specifically we’ll discuss pain points virtualization can solve and those that it can create and how to prevent them.
E2 IT Migration Zones
IT Migration Zone - UK
Why PowerShell Is Important
Reduce the Windows 8 Footprint for VDI
Rethinking Storage Management
IT Migration Zone - FR
SQL Server : 240 To de mémoire flash pour votre data warehouse
Quand Office vient booster les revenus Cloud et Android de Microsoft
Windows Phone : Nokia veut davantage d'applications (et les utilisateurs aussi)
IT Migration Zone - DE
Cloud Computing: Warum Unternehmen trotz NSA auf die „private“ Wolke setzen sollten
Cloud Computing bleibt Wachstumsmarkt – Windows Azure ist Vorreiter
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Enterprise Efficiency Twitter Feed
Site Moderators Wanted
Enterprise Efficiency is looking for engaged readers to moderate the message boards on this site. Engage in high-IQ conversations with IT industry leaders; earn kudos and perks. Interested? E-mail:
moderators@enterpriseefficiency.com
Dell's Efficiency Modeling Tool
The major problem facing the CIO is how to measure the effectiveness of the IT department. Learn how Dell’s Efficiency Modeling Tool gives the CIO two clear, powerful numbers: Efficiency Quotient and Impact Quotient. These numbers can be transforma¬tive not only to the department, but to the entire enterprise.

Read the full report
The State of Enterprise Efficiency in the Virtual Era: Virtualization – Smart Approaches to Maximize Gains
Virtualization is a presence in nearly all enterprise data centers. But not all companies are using it to its best effect. Learn the common characteristics of success, what barriers companies face, and how to get the most from your efforts.

Read the full report
Informed CIO: Dollars & Sense: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure
Cut through the VDI hype and get the full picture -- including ROI and the impact on your Data Center -- to make an informed decision about your virtual desktop infrastructure deployments.

Read the full report
SPONSORED BY DELL
CASE STUDIES
EBOOKS
PUBLIC SECTOR RESOURCES
VIDEOS
WHITE PAPERS
WINDOWS SERVER 2012 RESOURCES
A Video Case Study – Translational Genomics Research Institute
e2 Video


On the Case
TGen IT: Where We're Going Next

7|11|12   |   08:12   |   10 comments


Now that TGen has broken new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions, the company discusses what will come next for it and for personalized medicine.
On the Case
Better Care Through Better Communications

6|6|12   |   02:24   |   12 comments


The achievements of the TGen/Dell project could improve how all people receive healthcare, because they are creating ways to improve end-to-end communication of medical data.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Are Now

5|15|12   |   06:58   |   5 comments


TGen is breaking new ground in genomic research by using Dell's storage, cloud, and high-performance computing solutions.
On the Case
TGen IT: Where We Were

4|27|12   |   06:45   |   10 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute wanted to save lives, but its efforts were hobbled by immense computing challenges related to collecting, processing, sharing, and storing enormous amounts of data.
On the Case
1,200% Faster

4|18|12   |   02:27   |   12 comments


Through their partnership, Dell and TGen have increased the speed of TGen’s medical research by 1,200 percent.
On the Case
IT May Improve Children's Chances of Survival

4|17|12   |   02:12   |   8 comments


IT is helping medical researchers reach breakthroughs in a way and pace never seen before.
On the Case
Medical Advances in the Cloud

4|10|12   |   1:25   |   5 comments


TGen and Dell are pushing the boundaries of computing, and harnessing the power of the cloud to improve healthcare.
On the Case
TGen: Living the Mission

4|9|12   |   2:25   |   3 comments


TGen's CIO puts the organizational mission at the heart of everything the IT staff does.
On the Case
TGen Speeding Up Biomedical Research to Save More Lives

4|5|12   |   1:59   |   8 comments


The Translational Genomics Research Institute is revamping its computing to improve speed, storage, and collaboration – and, most importantly, to save lives.
On the Case
Computing Power Helping to Save Children's Lives

3|28|12   |   2:13   |   3 comments


The Translational Genomics Institute’s partnership with Dell is enabling them to treat kids with neuroblastoma more quickly and save more lives.
Tom Nolle
The Big Reason to Use Office

3|18|14   |   02:24   |   19 comments


Office and personal productivity tools come in a first-class and coach flavor set, but what makes the difference is primarily little things that most users won't encounter. What's the big issue in using something other than Office, and can you get around it?
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Mobile Security — A Use Case

3|4|14   |   04:27   |   6 comments


New mobile security solutions can accommodate a wide array of needs, including those of a complex university environment.
Tom Nolle
Killing Net Neutrality Might Save You Money

1|16|14   |   2:13   |   11 comments


The DC Court of Appeals voided most of the Neutrality Order, and whatever it might mean for the Internet overall, it might mean better and cheaper Internet VPNs for businesses.
Tom Nolle
The Internet of Everythinguseful

1|10|14   |   2:18   |   19 comments


We really don't want an "Internet of Everything" but even building an Internet of Everythinguseful means setting some ground rules to insure there's value in the process and that costs and risks are minimized.
Tom Nolle
Maturing Google Chrome

12|30|13   |   2.18   |   25 comments


Google's Chrome OS has a lot of potential value and a lot of recent press, but it still needs something to make it more than a thin client. It needs cloud integration, it needs extended APIs via web services, and it needs to suck it up and support a hard drive.
Sara Peters
No More Cookie-Cutter IT

12|23|13   |   03.58   |   21 comments


Creating the right combination of technology, people, and processes for your IT organization is a lot like baking Christmas cookies.
Sara Peters
Smart Wigs Not a Smart Idea

12|5|13   |   3:01   |   46 comments


Sony is seeking a patent for wigs that contain computing devices.
Tom Nolle
Cloud in the Wild

12|4|13   |   02:23   |   15 comments


On a recent African trip I saw examples of the value of the cloud in developing nations, for educational and community development programs. We could build on this, but not only in developing economies, because these same programs are often under-supported even in first-world countries.
E2 Editors
SPONSORED: Is Malware Evading Your IPS?

11|18|13   |   03:16   |   4 comments


Intrusion prevention software is supposed to detect and block malware intrusions, but clever malware authors can evade your IPS in these five main ways.
Sara Peters
Where Have All the Mentors Gone?

9|27|13   |   3:15   |   38 comments


A good professional mentor can change your life for the better... but where do you find one?
Tom Nolle
SDN Wars & You Could Win

9|17|13   |   2:10   |   5 comments


VMware's debate with Cisco on SDN might finally create a fusion between an SDN view that's all about software and another that's all about network equipment. That would be good for every enterprise considering the cloud and SDN.
Ivan Schneider
The Future of the Smart Watch

9|12|13   |   3:19   |   39 comments


Wearing a bulky, oversized watch is good training for the next phase in wristwatches: the Internet-enabled, connected watch. Why the smartphone-tethered connected watch makes sense, plus Ivan demos an entirely new concept for the "smart watch."
Tom Nolle
Cutting Your Cloud Storage Costs

9|4|13   |   2:06   |   3 comments


Cloud storage costs are determined primarily by the rate at which files are changed and the possibility of concurrent access/update. If you can structure your storage use to optimize these factors you can cut costs, perhaps to zero.
Sara Peters
Do CIOs Need an IT Background?

8|29|13   |   2:11   |   23 comments


Most of the CIOs interviewed in the How to Become a CIO series did not start their careers as IT professionals. So is an IT background essential?
Ivan Schneider
The Internet Loves Birthdays

8|27|13   |   3:25   |   69 comments


The Internet has evolved into a machine for drumming up a chorus of "Happy Birthday" messages, from family, friends, friends of friends who you added on Facebook, random people that you circled on G+, and increasingly, automated bots. Enough already.