5 Underrated Healthcare Trends From A Top CIO - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Government // Mobile & Wireless
05:36 PM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Connect Directly

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.

 7 Big Data Solutions Try To Reshape Healthcare
7 Big Data Solutions Try To Reshape Healthcare
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
There is a small group of healthcare providers that have big brands and big ambitions when it comes to pushing healthcare and health technology forward. Think of places such as the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and Johns Hopkins. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is right in that mix.

So I sat down with UPMC CIO Dan Drawbaugh recently to discuss what looks exciting on the technology horizon and where his organization is investing. UPMC is a $10 billion nonprofit company that crosses many lines in healthcare -- it's a huge care provider, a 2-million-member insurance company, a research institution, employer of 55,000 people and even an investor in technology companies.

Here are some of the emerging areas that are high on Drawbaugh's list, and that struck me as underappreciated:

1. Healthcare Reform And Risk Management Technology

Healthcare providers are going to need software systems that help them manage their risks -- that help them act more like health insurers, Drawbaugh says. Accountable care organizations will be responsible for the health of a certain patient population, and they'll get payments based on people's wellness and health improvements. Doing so means healthcare providers -- hospital and physician groups -- bear more financial risk if patients get sicker than expected.

[ Should seniors put their game faces on to stay healthy? Read Gaming Technology Meets Elder Care In Europe. ]

UPMC has a joint venture with the Advisory Board Company called Evolent Health that markets UPMC's platforms for providing this kind of care along with consulting developed through the Advisory Board to help caregivers manage this new realm. Providers will have to focus more on managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, and they'll have to process payments in new ways -- based on wellness metrics rather than doctor visits and treatment procedures.

Will companies pay up for another software platform for this effort, after having invested in electronic records, physician order entry software, practice management systems, etc.? The management challenge and financial risk may be one reason more than half of healthcare providers aren't sure if they'll pursue accountable care organization (ACO) status, a recent InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities survey finds.

2. Analytics

It's hard to say analytics is underappreciated, given today's big data frenzy, but you could say analytics is under-implemented. Only 15% of providers in the InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities survey have implemented big data analytics initiatives. (We will publish the full survey Monday at informationweek.com/healthcare.)

Global CIO
Global CIOs: A Site Just For You
Visit InformationWeek's Global CIO -- our online community and information resource for CIOs operating in the global economy.

Most providers are focused on getting their electronic health record systems in place, and then making sure the data can be shared among systems. The next step, though, will be making sense of that data. That will mean using it in support of clinical decision making, and increasingly, combining health records with personal genetic information to personalize decisions.

UPMC is part of a $100 million, five-year effort with IBM, Oracle, Informatica and dbMotion aimed at advancing analytics' use in healthcare for personalized medicine.

UPMC's efforts don't only focus on the patient. It's also looking at analyzing doctors and understanding who gets the best results at the lowest costs. That's difficult today, says Oscar Marroquin, a practicing physician who's directing UPMC's efforts to measure physician effectiveness. If a doctor's cost or outcomes compare unfavorably, "most of us will say, 'My patients are sicker than someone else's,'" says Marroquin.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
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
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
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.
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
4/1/2013 | 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
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
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: 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: 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
2021 Outlook: Tackling Cloud Transformation Choices
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/4/2021
Enterprise IT Leaders Face Two Paths to AI
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  12/23/2020
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll