Mathematical Modeling Meets Disease Prevention - InformationWeek
Healthcare // Clinical Information Systems
02:55 PM
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Mathematical Modeling Meets Disease Prevention

Intermountain Healthcare is taking a mathematical modeling approach to clinical decision support in the hope of preventing disease or detecting it early on.

5 Key Elements For Clinical Decision Support Systems
5 Key Elements For Clinical Decision Support Systems
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, will use Archimedes' IndiGO decision support tool to help reduce patients' risk of developing serious chronic diseases and to pick the best interventions to head off major events like a heart attack or a stroke. Intermountain joins several other healthcare organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, which piloted IndiGO, in using the mathematical modeling approach to prevention.

IndiGO will be among an array of applications, some homegrown and others acquired from outside vendors, that Intermountain will use to reengineer its healthcare delivery system with the help of a $9.7 million government grant. This is one of 107 Health Care Innovation grants, totalling $896 million, that the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced.

One of the largest healthcare organizations in the West, Intermountain includes 23 hospitals and 185 clinics in Utah and southern Idaho, as well as a health plan that covers nearly a third of its patients. Over the years, it has gained a reputation for innovative approaches to quality improvement and has been a pioneer in health IT.

Intermountain received the HHS award to "test a new care delivery and payment model" that relies heavily on IT. The project, which will incorporate a shared savings model and, possibly, some downside financial risk, is expected to save Medicare and Medicaid more than $67 million by 2015.

Intermountain is very confident it can achieve this seven-fold return on investment, said Lucy Savitz, MD, director of research and education at Intermountain's Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.

[ Practice management software keeps the medical office running smoothly. For a closer look at KLAS' top-ranked systems, see 10 Top Medical Practice Management Software Systems. ]

"If you're more effectively treating patients in outpatient settings because of shared decision making and other tools you have in place, you'll prevent unnecessary ED visits and hospital admissions," she pointed out. In addition, she said, the new approach will help Intermountain revamp its care processes so it can do a better job of managing population health.

The IndiGO tool from San Francisco-based Archimedes derives its power from algorithms based on mathematical modeling of large public databases. These include Kaiser Permanente data and information from the National Institutes of Health and long-running studies such as the Framingham Heart Study.

When a patient comes to a physician office, IndiGO is applied to the information in his or her electronic record. Based on that data, IndiGO can assess the risk of a patient having a heart attack or a stroke, developing diabetes, or acquiring some other chronic disease over the next five years. It also ranks the interventions that could be used to reduce that risk in order of their potential benefit to the patient.

Intermountain will use some of its grant money to expand IndiGO to include depression, Savitz said. The reason is the strong correlation that Intermountain's research and other studies have found between depression and other chronic conditions. Patients with congestive heart failure and diabetes, for instance, are often depressed, she noted.

"We try to treat patients holistically, and if you want to effectively treat patients and have them be compliant with the care for their medical condition, if you're not treating the mental health condition, you're not treating the patient," she said.

Intermountain's tightly integrated system and advanced EHR, which was internally developed, are what makes it possible to undertake this project, Savitz added. "We're not starting de novo. We're building on a strong track record and on strong information systems that will allow us to monitor and track effectively what's happening." Intermountain's bold experiment, she said, "can serve as an important model for the country in terms of being able to show what's possible."

Get the new, all-digital Healthcare CIO 25 issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. It's our second annual honor roll of the health IT leaders driving healthcare's transformation. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll