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5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center CIO Dan Drawbaugh shares his thoughts about what the next health IT opportunities will be.

3. Joint Provider-Vendor Development

Drawbaugh sees more interest than ever among big healthcare providers such as UPMC, Kaiser Permanente and Mayo Clinic to do co-development projects in which a provider brings industry knowledge and works closely with a vendor to push a technology forward. Look at UPMC's analytics work, or Memorial Sloan-Kettering's development partnership with IBM related to Watson. UPMC invested in data-interoperability specialist dbMotion in 2006, implemented and helped refine the product and then saw it sold to Allscripts this month.

One reason for increased interest in joint development is simple: healthcare margins are getting squeezed, while tech vendors are known to enjoy margins of 30% or more, Drawbaugh says. Getting into the tech business is a potential new revenue source for some providers. "There's a lot of opportunity to leverage the knowledge base that's out there" among healthcare providers, he says.

4. Technology Convergence

Drawbaugh is just starting to see what he calls a convergence of certain technology areas. Where images such as CAT scans used to be stored using file formats unique to the device that took them, you're starting to see more vendor-neutral archives (VNA) for such images. That could open new avenues for connectivity and analysis.

Likewise, combining analytics software with better natural language processing, to understand data such as clinician notes, could open new opportunities to inject decision support into caregiving routines.

If this area sounds fuzzier than the rest, it is. Drawbaugh says they're just seeing this convergence begin, so UPMC is looking for the opportunities it might create.

5. Gaming And Consumer Devices

I spoke to Drawbaugh at the HIMSS healthcare IT conference, and observed that I didn't see many consumer-focused devices -- I had expected more tech around home monitoring and other patient-focused gadgets.

Drawbaugh agrees, but predicts that's coming. Three years ago, you didn't see a lot of vendor activity at HIMSS in data interoperability, because CIOs weren't feeling that pain yet. Now they are, and vendors have responded. And the same will happen with patient-centered innovation -- simpler mobile apps for patient monitoring, gaming techniques applied to disease management, and electronic messaging, from social networks to email, that replaces traditional doctor visits. That will drive new technology requirements. "You come [to HIMSS] in another two, three years, and the floor will look very different," Drawbaugh says.

As large healthcare providers test the limits, many smaller groups question the value. Also in the new, all-digital Big Data Analytics issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: Ask these six questions about natural language processing before you buy. (Free with registration.)

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User Rank: Author
3/28/2013 | 2:55:51 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
Great to hear right from a CIO of this caliber on this topic. Re point #5, I think there is going to be a lot of pushback from consumers re applying gamification to disease management and healthcare in general. I just don't buy into people liking this approach yet.

Monitoring devices, sure. But gamification? My gut reaction is no thank you. Anyone else?

Laurianne McLaughlin
User Rank: Apprentice
3/28/2013 | 10:02:00 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
I assume that CIO Dan Drawbaugh is not a doctor or a healthcare provider. It's easy to theorize what can be done, but he ignores the fact of people's health beliefs. Not just culturally, but how people perceive seeing a doctor and getting treatment and expecting a cure. Yes, intelligent, college educated with professional careers people ask me questions like this all the time. For example, with high blood pressure, heart disease, gout,diabetes, and thyroid problems I am asked, "For how long do I have take the medication?" Medical people assume that patients know about chronic disease and the treatment. My answer, "Until there's a cure or a better treatment." During the flu & cold season, I see hundreds of people that want a cure for their cold and won't believe that an antibiotic won't help and there's no cure. They often go to other providers or worse, the Emergency Department, because they can't breath through their nose and don't like coughing.

It's time to stop looking at the health care provider for the cost of medical care and start doing metrics on the consumer of health care. Even when emergency department "super users" were found primary care that they could use, the "habit" of going to the emergency room did not change. This is the population of people that have the health belief of wanting to see a doctor now and do not like the niceties of making an appointment and having to wait a day, even when they have health insurance, transportation, low co-pay, their health belief is getting care 24/7 and playing by their own rules.

Patient surveys should not include questions about days to get appointment, waiting room time, was the staff nice, but the survey should ask what they expect from the encounter with the medical provider, was their expectation met, what they think about their diagnosis, what they feel about taking medications, will they follow the health advice given, will they follow the treatment plan, do they expect a complete healing of their medical problem. That would make for good data and find out what the consumer of health services is thinking and how to make them partners in cutting healthcare costs.

Can analytics do this?
User Rank: Apprentice
3/29/2013 | 7:20:58 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
As an example of Drawbaugh's point #3, PatientKeeper recently completed a joint development project with Partners HealthCare: an infusion billing capability that works with PatientKeeper Charge Capture software. (Partners plans to go live with the new infusion billing soon.)
User Rank: Author
3/31/2013 | 11:58:19 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
Some of this analytical focus definitely is falling on the patient -- identifying chronic disease patients and trying to get them on disease management programs, studying which type of patients end up back in the hospital and why and trying to head off those problems.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/1/2013 | 11:55:35 AM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
I completely agree with you in regards to the amount of support we can expect towards the gamification of healthcare. I just donG«÷t see many people accepting this approach yet. In regards to the other points made here though, I agree these areas are a little under-appreciated as of this moment but I see the focus shifting soon as we will probably see in the next HIMSS.

Jay Simmons
Information Week Contributor
Tom Mariner
Tom Mariner,
User Rank: Strategist
4/2/2013 | 1:56:29 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
Particularly the last three ring true, although if you're not looking in those directions, not sure you understand the immediate future of medical device IT. A few specific comments: point four on Vendor Neutral Archives -- the example given of CT images -- they have actually been in a standardized format since the beginning with header and image information following strict rules, but yes, there was always the temptation to throw in an "improvement" that made the records from particularly a large vendor "more compatible" with the record storage part of the business.

Point three with the Provider / Vendor cooperation would seem to not only be business 101, talk to your customer, but what all regulatory agencies require in development. The interesting part is the financial and management role of the "customer" as opposed to hoping the vendors pay attention to their medical professionals.

Point five is BYOD, and if you think you have problems being a CIO in a non-medical environment with "company secrets" add on absolutely draconian fines for not only divulging patient info, but just not knowing if somebody unauthorized has them or not. Try developing or servicing in that environment. But yes, this is where patient and professional contact is going, and the trick to this segment is privacy -- Interestingly the US puts enforcement of privacy in the hands of a Civil Rights Division to show they're serious.

My take is yes, important trends, but not sure they are a mystery or underrated to a sentient being that develops this stuff.

(My personal opinion not connected with any organization.)
User Rank: Apprentice
4/24/2013 | 12:57:53 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
#3 feels like the linchpin for every other predictive trend mentioned here. When hospitals and docs can marry their healthcare delivery expertise with the tech/innovation expertise of software developers -- yes the IBMs of the world, but also smaller/more-nimbler tech shops --- the benefits will be two-fold: 1) better and more intuitive medical technology that can enable better information transfer, patient tracking, performance and data analysis, etc; and 2) faster trickle-down of that technology to smaller and more remote institutions i.e. big hospital sells it to little hospital (and little hospital buys it with greater confidence and speed from a fellow hospital, as opposed to a non-healthcare-expert tech company. Whether or not any of this new profitability from effectively selling software will curb any healthcare costs (short-term) is an entirely different discussion.
User Rank: Apprentice
5/13/2013 | 6:41:26 AM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
I completely agree with you with regards to the amount of support we are able to expect towards your gamification of professional medical. I just donG«÷t see many individuals accepting this technique yet. In regards for the other points created here though, I agree these areas certainly are a little under-appreciated as of this moment but I start to see the focus shifting soon once we will probably see in the next HIMSS.
User Rank: Apprentice
8/16/2013 | 6:20:37 PM
re: 5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO
I would add performance and load testing to the list. It is
very important to have the right infrastructure and to make sure that your
software and infrastructure match. By loading testing your application with
virtual users, you can ensure you'll get the right performance before you go
live. There are two schools of thought when it comes to automated performance
testing. One looks at the back-end
database and network activity to derive the performance. The other looks at time it takes the end-user
to perform a task. We believe that true
performance testing of any healthcare systems should be tested from the end
user perspective and that is why we created our testing suite. Find out more at
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