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EMRs, ICD-10 Pave the Way to Business Intelligence

Posted on June 16, 2011 I Written By

Two articles I’ve written in the last 24 hours have gotten me thinking that we’ve already entered the post-implementation era of EMRs, even as implementation remains in progress at so many healthcare organizations. While the vast majority of hospitals and physician practices in the U.S. still don’t have full-featured EMRs in place, many are already looking well into the future.

As you may already know, HIMSS on Tuesday released its first-ever survey on “clinical transformation.” According to HIMSS and survey sponsor McKesson, “Clinical transformation involves assessing and continually improving the way patient care is delivered at all levels in a care delivery organization. It occurs when an organization rejects existing practice patterns that deliver inefficient or less effective results and embraces a common goal of patient safety, clinical outcomes and quality care through process redesign and IT implementation. By effectively blending people, processes and technology, clinical transformation occurs across facilities, departments and clinical fields of expertise”

As I reported for InformationWeek, 86 percent of organizations surveyed had a plan for clinical transformation in place or at least under development, and just 12 percent of respondents called organizational commitment a barrier to reporting on quality measures. And though nearly 8o percent indicated that they still gather quality data by hand and 60 said they don’t capture data in discrete format, more than half already had software specifically for business intelligence. This tells me that analytics is here to stay.

I kind of knew that anyway, since the bulk of the program at last week’s Wisconsin Technology Network Digital Healthcare Conference was devoted to BI, data governance and advanced analytics tools, even in the context of Accountable Care Organizations. (My story about this for WTN News appeared this morning.)

“I’m ready to declare the era of business intelligence,” said Galen Metz, CIO and IS director for Madison-based Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin. Though he criticized the proposed ACO rules for being too “daunting” for the average provider, Galen and other speakers said that it’s time to harness all the new, granular data being generated by EMRs and, soon, ICD-10 coding.

It may seem “daunting” now in the midst of all the preparations for ICD-10 and meaningful use, but it’s good to know that many healthcare organizations see a light at the end of the tunnel and know that the future bring better healthcare information in exchange for all the hard work and investment today.


Sickweather Uses Social Networking to “Forecast” Sickness

Posted on I Written By

One of the most amazing things about social networking is the sheer amount of information that is out there.  People comment about where they are, what they are eating, where they are shopping, and what they are watching.  Companies have been using this media to better target their audience, as well as getting feedback on their products and services.  Now we may be able to use this mass of information to help avoid getting sick.

Sickweather uses social media to track keywords like bronchitis or stomach flu in association with location tags to generate a sort of weather map of sickness in your area.  The obvious direct impact is that you can better see when sickness is infiltrating your circle of friends so that you can avoid them until the sickness passes.  That means you may skip out on a BBQ and thus stay healthy.  By stopping the spread of illness in small circles we prevent the spread of disease in large groups as well.

While they don’t appear to be targeting larger organizations like the CDC to help combat disease, they would be crazy to not use this information on a bigger scale.  That may very well be in the long term plans at Sickweather once they have proof of concept, as they are still only in beta testing at this point.

For more information, and to sign up to be a beta tester you can visit their website at