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David Alexander, Vice President, Finance, Memorial Health System

By David Alexander

Healthcare systems across the U.S. are facing the need to reform operations to maintain their financial health. Rising costs, aging populations and government reform mandates are changing how these systems work.

As the nation’s second largest public health care network, Memorial Health System has had to face these issues and more as we’ve expanded operations.

The good news? We’ve grown both organically by adding new facilities and by acquiring other hospitals and health providers.

The challenge? The complexity of our accounts-payable processes increased, transactional volumes skyrocketed, and we had no consistent way to validate vendors. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Timothy G. Buchman, MD, PhD, Founding Director, Emory Center for Critical Care, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University

Dr. Timothy G. Buchman, MD, PhD, Founding Director, Emory Center for Critical Care, Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University

By Dr. Timothy G. Buchman, MD, PhD

Remember when airplane cockpits were filled with round gauges, each providing a piece of basic information to the pilot?

In most hospitals today, we essentially operate on that same old-fashioned model for critically ill patients – those in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Machines provide separate pieces of data about a patient, say, heart rate, blood pressure or organ function. It’s then up to the doctor to watch all of this data and make decisions.

Take for example my patient, lying in the ICU with tubes of various sizes snaking into her body. Her husband and children look on while she is tended by an experienced critical care nurse. Eight infusers drip powerful drugs into her veins. A microprocessor-controlled ventilator regulates the composition, volume and pressure of each breath she takes. Continue Reading »

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Wes Hunt, Vice President, Customer Analytics at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

Wes Hunt, Vice President, Customer Analytics at Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

By Wes Hunt

At my company, we have been using Big Data and analytics, as permitted by law, to transform the way we serve our customers – to provide deeply personalized services. We study customer behaviors, preferences, and relationships to get a full 360 degree view of our customers.At Nationwide, we put members first.

We’ve always promised to protect the things that are the most important to them: their assets, their peace of mind and even their dreams, no matter how simple or grand they may be. Our brand promise, “Nationwide Is On Your Side,” is built on the core belief of building and enhancing customer relationships. We are committed to knowing and caring about our members, and being easy to do business with. Continue Reading »

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Keith J. Figlioli, Senior Vice President, healthcare informatics, Premier Healthcare Alliance

Keith J. Figlioli, Senior Vice President, healthcare informatics, Premier Healthcare Alliance

By Keith J. Figlioli

According to the federal government, one out of every five Medicare beneficiaries – about two million people annually – are readmitted to hospitals within 30 days of discharge. The cost: $26 billion a year, with more than $17 billion considered unplanned and preventable.

Why is this happening? Well, research shows patients are often readmitted due to their lack of understanding about what’s wrong with them and how to care for themselves at home, which medications they’re supposed to take and when, and how and when they should schedule a follow up appointment[1].

In August, I wrote about the Data Alliance Collaborative (DAC), a group of leading clinical and IT experts who are co-developing and sharing data analytics to meet unmet healthcare needs. Instead of investing in and developing multiple, fragmented solutions that address the same problem, DAC members are pooling resources to develop single solutions all providers can use. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Courtney DiNardo

Dr. Courtney DiNardo, Clinician Researcher,
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

By Dr. Courtney DiNardo

A few weeks ago, after I started one of my leukemia patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center on a standard course of chemotherapy, my patient developed a potentially life-threatening complication that sometimes occurs during leukemia treatment. It’s called tumor lysis syndrome. If not treated proactively, it can cause kidney failure, a heart attack and even death. A computing system based on IBM’s Watson technology that we’re currently piloting alerted me to the situation. I took action immediately. He’s okay now.

At an advanced cancer treatment center like MD Anderson, we likely would have spotted my patient’s problem early enough to respond in time without the help of a computer. However, in a community hospital, physicians who don’t see as many leukemia patients or have our expertise might not have noticed in time. The technology will definitely save lives. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Walter Stewart, Vice President and Chief R&D Officer, Sutter Health

Dr. Walter Stewart, Vice President and Chief R&D Officer, Sutter Health

By Dr. Walter Stewart

Heart failure remains nearly impossible to detect early.

Although doctors look for physical signs and symptoms, which are commonly known as the Framingham criteria, they can occur with illnesses other than heart failure. So, doctors usually diagnose heart failure after a patient is hospitalized, when the disease has progressed to a very serious stage and caused irreversible organ damage.

Sutter Health, IBM and Geisinger Health Systems have earned a $2 million grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to improve this diagnosis – to make it faster, more accurate, and more reliable with analytics. As part of this three year project, we will collect data on heart failure symptoms, test multiple approaches for quickly and accurately analyzing the data, and determine how we might structure a potential clinical trial. Continue Reading »

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Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM Global Business Services

Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM Global Business Services

By Paul Papas

Earlier this week, IBM and Boston Children’s Hospital offered a glimpse into the transformative potential of social networking technologies with the unveiling of OPENPediatrics, the world’s first social learning platform designed to connect clinicians from around the world to share knowledge and best practices in the care of critically ill children – all supported on the cloud.

It was a single phone call to Dr. Jeffrey Burns that became the genesis for OPENPediatrics.  After helping a pediatrician in Guatemala successfully treat a young girl with a life-threatening blood disorder, all by using a video link, he aspired to bring world-class critical care to other pediatricians and their patients in every corner of the world. Continue Reading »

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Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist, IBM

Dr. Martin Kohn, Chief Medical Scientist, IBM

By Dr. Martin Kohn

With our country aging and the medical profession feeling the pressure to keep up, encouraging innovation in the United States to help ease this transition is critical. If we can seize the opportunity, the Big Data revolution can make medical practice, hospital care and every other aspect of healthcare more effective and efficient. 

Today, September 17, I’ll be on Capitol Hill to participate in a discussion hosted by the Health IT Now! coalition about the need for continued innovation in healthcare. We’ll discuss the role of health IT in helping physicians address the challenges that stand in the way of using Big Data to its full potential. Continue Reading »

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August 27th, 2013
11:00
 

Martin Fleming, , Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

Martin Fleming, Vice President, Business Performance Services, Chief Economist, IBM

By Martin Fleming

In a recent New York Times article, reporter James Glanz asks: “Is Big Data an Economic Dud?” Mr. Glanz seems to answer his own question skeptically. The “data era,” he suggests, will not match the earlier revolutions in manufacturing, domestic life and transportation.

In addition, the Wall Street Journal posted a blog discussing that Big Data is at, or near the peak of the Gartner “hype cycle” and “big data technologies are now soon to be due for a fall into the ‘trough of disillusionment.’” Continue Reading »

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