Earlier this week, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke at a town hall meeting in Green Bay, Wisconsin about his agenda for health reform. The purpose of this post is not to wade into political waters. But I thought this comment by President Obama was interesting in making the case for reform (emphasis added):
We have to ask why places like Geisinger Health systems in rural Pennsylvania, or Intermountain Health in Salt Lake City, or communities like Green Bay can offer high-quality care at costs well below average, but other places in America can’t. We need to identify the best practices across the country, learn from the successes, and then duplicate those successes everywhere else.
Geisinger Health Systems has been a client of IBM’s for a few years now and they offer a clear example of what a Smarter Healthcare system could be. Here’s a short synopsis of the Geisinger story from an essay we recently wrote on the subject:
Smarter healthcare is intelligent, applying advanced analytics to improve research, diagnosis and treatment. Geisinger Health Systems is integrating clinical, financial, operational, claims, genomic and other information into an integrated environment of medical intelligence that helps doctors deliver more personalized care. This enables them to make smarter decisions and deliver higher quality care, all because they can easily turn information into actionable knowledge.
A lot has been said about the need for electronic health records, but digitizing health records is simply the first step. Geisinger has had some form of electronic health records for more than 10 years now. But beyond simply digitization, Geisinger now has the ability to analyze a decade worth of clinical information, procedural data and research to bring about the best evidenced-based treatment for patients. That’s the true promise of a smarter healthcare system.
President Obama’s message was to learn from Geisinger’s the best practices. You can read more about the work IBM’s been doing with Geisinger here on ibm.com or listen to this podcast with IBM’s Dan Pelino and Geisinger’s Dr. Ronald Paulus:
Finally, while this isn’t about Geisinger specifically, the points in this video are appropriate for this conversation: