Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs

David Wagner, Managing Editor | 3/7/2012 | 5 comments

David Wagner
In the past couple of years, healthcare CIOs have put so much of their attention on electronic health records (EHRs) and meaningful use. The deadlines and penalties established by the federal government have worked well, and now most medical centers have their plans in place, if not the actual EHRs up and running. Because of this, most of the talk at the recent HIMSS conference was on what happens next. One of the obvious ways to go is improving clinical intelligence (CI). In many ways, that might be a bigger challenge for healthcare CIOs than EHRs.

For those unfamiliar with the term, CI is essentially the healthcare equivalent of business intelligence. The goal is to collect and analyze data to support better clinical decisions. A longer definition can be found here. It is the obvious next step after EHR adoption.

EHRs have rationalized and digitized information that was previously difficult to access in large scale. Combining them with CI allows you to slice and dice your long-term data about clinical outcomes by gender, age, vital signs, symptoms, diagnoses, or anything else. The benefits are so numerous that it is hard to list them all, but let’s highlight a few.

  • Research: Some of the most powerful yet most difficult research projects are longitudinal and cross-sectional studies, which track a population over a certain period. (Longitudinal studies often follow a person's entire life.) These studies have existed for a long time and have gotten easier with computer-generated data, but until recently, they have relied too much on very routine data (gender and age). As EHR use expands, so does the amount of easily searchable data -- bringing the advantages of parsing out more complete populations with more specific symptoms.

    There are also benefits to determining which dosages and medicines work best for certain types of diseases. Do people with certain genetic characteristics respond differently to certain types of cancer drugs? Up to this point, that data has been difficult to store and access.

  • Clinical outcomes: Do patients with similar symptoms recover equally well with all of your doctors? In all of your rooms? Are infection rates higher where certain employees work? If you monitor certain vital signs remotely 24/7, does it allow you to intervene quicker for certain complications? The potential is endless. What we’ll be measuring will go up exponentially in the next few years.
  • Insurance rates: We all know about doctors and unnecessary tests, but with better clinical outcomes, you can expect total costs to go down -- and hopefully, lower insurance costs will follow. In addition, CI is likely to reduce medical fraud.
  • Resource and supply planning: Many hospitals are accustomed to using BI to order supplies and stock the pharmacy. However, with the expansion of the CI database, you can expect improved planning tools and superior information, which can save hospitals time and money.

Some serious challenges come with the sudden surge in data. Hospitals are used to storing data, but using this data will require some new skill sets. The staff is trained in dealing with individual files, but working with larger groups of data will be new territory. Looking at the numbers and knowing how to respond may take new organizational capabilities. Nurses, since they are most responsible for responding to changes in patient status, will have to get used to processing much more automated data.

IT departments will likely have to create and service “dashboards” that track the ongoing automated data for clinical staff, as well as creating ways for researchers to access data in large scale while remaining compliant with privacy laws and regulations. Data warehouses will grow exponentially and create a big data problem that not only affects costs, but also takes a different kind of expertise to manage.

Clinical intelligence provides an opportunity to revolutionize medical care at every level. But it seems that, like most medical revolutions today, the CI revolution will be led by the CIO, rather than the clinical staff. Good CIOs will make this a priority and a competitive differentiator for their institutions now.

View Comments: Newest First | Oldest First | Threaded View
Sara Peters   Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs   3/8/2012 4:11:50 PM
Re: bring on the intelligence
whoops! You're right dave. I got it backwards.
David Wagner   Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs   3/8/2012 3:56:53 PM
Re: bring on the intelligence
Also, I have to agree with you Dave that the potential threats outweigh the potential benefits.

I think you mean the other way around.

But yes, i agree that CI should be the goal of EHR, but I think the way that the federal incentives have worked (mainly pointed at medicare payments as penalties) too many people have looked at it as a way to simplify billing and coding, and just to replace all that paper floating around.

CI is now taking the forefront again because the basics are in place (or at least a plan for the basics in some cases).




Sara Peters   Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs   3/8/2012 3:29:30 PM
bring on the intelligence
Y'know, I think that the best reason for EHRs in the first place is to generate better clinical intelligence. If clinicians aren't getting better insight, then what's the point? Also, I have to agree with you Dave that the potential threats outweigh the potential benefits. I've already decided to give my body to science when I die, so that they can rip the whole thing apart and figure out why I really have so many health problems. It would be nice if they could find a way to get that info before I'm dead. Maybe CI can help?
David Wagner   Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs   3/8/2012 11:21:06 AM
Re: EHR concerns
@Gigi- I guess it depends on how they accessed it. Personally, i think that is exactly the best thing about EHR. Ir i were a drug company, i could access all of the information without any names or other identifying information. I could then analyze that information and find out that, for instance, women didn't respond to my drug as well as men, or that the dosages that the company originally recommended were wrong. Eventually, as genotyping becomes standard practice, the company could start seeing patterns in genetic types that needed a slightly different formulation of the same drug for it to be effective.

The ultimate long term goal of data in the healthcare industry is individualized medicine-- the right drug(s), at the right dose, at the right time for you. Not a one size fits all drug.

There is a lot of belief that drugs have been made that might work for certain genetic types but not for others, but that those drugs have been abandoned because in the large scale testing, they seemed only occasionally effective. In the future, we might find those abandoned drugs can be revived and used for people with the right genes. And other therapies can spring for that as you learn what is blocking or enhancing what is happening from the drug.

Of course, you can abuse this, too. A drug company could find out a certian doctor like to prescribe a competitior drug, and they could target the doctor for kickbacks to switch to their drug.

they could also use it for targeted advertising or worse.

But i think the potential is bigger than the risks as long as we attempt to manage the risks as they come.
Gigi   Clinical Intelligence Is the Next Challenge for Healthcare CIOs   3/8/2012 1:46:57 AM
Gigi
EHR concerns
David, am very much favor for the EHR because of its convenience and portability. At the same time am very much concerned about the security aspects. Recently I had read that some of the medical/drug manufacturing companies accessed this EHR data with the help of a hospital staff for analysis purposes. This shows that drug companies can access the whole data bank for their own research and promotions.

I don't think any automation or best judgment using software is hundred percent accurate. At a particular stage human interventions are required for best analysis.


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 David Wagner
David Wagner   5/30/2014   21 comments
For almost three and a half years I have had the pleasure and real privilege to write the Geekend for you every Friday. Fortunately, that privilege isn't ending, it is just moving to our ...
David Wagner   5/23/2014   69 comments
Most of us have gone through the pain of losing a beloved pet. Maybe you lived a long and happy life together, and it died peacefully. Maybe it was tragically struck down by a car or a ...
David Wagner   5/22/2014   47 comments
It is a rare thing when you find me advocating for the government to get more involved in regulating technology, but when it comes to the Internet of Things, that is what I'm advocating. ...
David Wagner   5/21/2014   13 comments
E2 has long trumpeted the days when 3D printers would sit on our desks and print prototypes, consumer goods, and even body parts right from our desk, but a new cloud manufacturing company ...
David Wagner   5/16/2014   40 comments
With Disney's success with the Avengers franchise, geeks everywhere are being treated to an outrageously large number of TV shows and movies based on comic book superhero characters. For ...
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.
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:
[email protected]
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   |   11 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   |   6 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   |   6 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   |   46 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   |   16 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   |   16 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.