Now You Have Health Care Data. So Where Does It Go?

Paul Grundy

Posted 1/15/12 on IBM Healthcare Perspectives

In the next 10 years, data and the ability to analyze it will do for the doctor’s mind what x-ray and medical imaging have done for their vision.  How? By turning data into actionable information.

For instance, take Watson, IBM’s intelligent supercomputer application. Watson can analyze the meaning and context of human language, and quickly process vast amounts of information. With this information, it can suggest options targeted to a patient’s circumstances. This is an example of technology that can help physicians and nurses identify the most effective courses of treatment for their patients. And fast: in less than 3 seconds Watson can sift through the equivalent of about 200 million pages, evaluate the information, and provide precise responses. With medical information doubling every 5 years, advanced health analytic systems technologies can help improve patient care through the delivery of up- to-date, evidence-based health care.

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Checklists and Decision Support in Primary Care

Kenneth Lin

First published 5/26/11 on Common Sense Family Doctor

Last year, I wrote a blog post on the potential role of checklists, if any, in primary care medicine. Although checklists have recently led to impressive improvements in patient safety in the fields of surgery and critical care, I had doubts that they could be applied to the broader specialties of family medicine, general internal medicine, and general pediatrics:

Primary care is, by nature, inherently less predictable than surgery or construction or piloting a commercial airliner. Beyond patients scheduled for health maintenance visits or chronic care checkups, we are trained to expect the unexpected, never knowing who is going to walk into the door on any given day with a limp, fracture, shortness of breath, chest pain, or other undifferentiated symptom, each with its own particular diagnostic approach. How can we possibly design a checklist for these? Does it even make sense to do so?

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I Told You I Was Sick!

Richard Reece

First published 3/4/11 on MedInnovation Blog

In 1925 W.C. Fields (1880-1946), writing in Vanity Fair, proposed this epitaph for himself, “ Here lies W.C Fields, I told you I was sick!”

As it turned out, his final epitaph in Hollywood read, “Better here than in Philadelphia.”

But I digress. I thought of W.C. Fields when reading But Doctor, You’re Wrong! (Real Story Press, 1999). Its author, Eileen Radziunas, lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, with her husband, Ed, an IT Specialist for United Healthcare. She is 61 years old and is incapacitated by a rare multisystem disease, Behcet’s syndrome.

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Five Inevitable Trends That Will Change Physician Practices


Over at iPractice, a Sanofi-Aventis site aimed at helping physicians manage their practices, I detail several rapidly emerging trends – clinical/financial performance transparency, clinical decision support, a medical management revival, value-based benefit design and medical homes – as well as how physicians might respond.

The core thesis here is that these trends are inevitable, brought on by a system that lags far behind most industry sectors, with costs so wildly out of control that a large and rapidly growing percentage of individual and corporate purchasers have been priced out of the coverage market.

Head over and take a look. The goal is to help physicians face these trends head on so they can prepare to succeed as they take root and come to dominate the marketplace. Feel free to pose questions, and I’ll do my best to respond quickly.