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Dr. Michael Weiner, DO, Director, Healthcare Strategic Solutions, IBM

Dr. Michael Weiner, DO, Director, Healthcare Strategic Solutions, IBM

By Dr. Michael Weiner

It’s been 53 years since IBM created the first electronic health record (EHR) for Akron Children’s Hospital, built on IBM’s Ramac 305. In those days, we could never have dreamed of the advances that would soon unfold for the modern EHR. From the amount of data they collect and store to the ability to access them remotely on mobile devices, EHRs have truly transformed medicine over the past few decades.

EHRs have also begun to transform our healthcare ecosystem. As a physician, I can attest to the value of an EHR to help improve the quality of care we deliver to our patients.

Akron Children’s Hospital, IBM RAMAK 305, 1961.

Akron Children’s Hospital, IBM RAMAK 305, 1961.

EHR’s can also facilitate care coordination between clinicians and help achieve greater administrative efficiencies.But as we look to the future of EHRs and to the requirements of Stage 3 meaningful use in the U.S., we continue to ask ourselves how to integrate structured and unstructured clinical data. Many of us have often wondered: When will the technology be able to read our notes? Continue Reading »

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Michael Karasick, Director, IBM Research - Almaden

Michael Karasick, Director, IBM Research – Almaden

By Michael Karasick

When Thomas J. Watson Sr. joined  IBM in 1914 as its president, the firm didn’t have a single engineer on its payroll, so he quickly hired engineers and set up a product development group in a brownstone near New York’s Penn Station. He created a patent development department in 1932 and, in 1945, he established the first corporate scientific research laboratory. Today, IBM Research has grown to become the largest corporate research organization in the world, with 3000 professionals at 12 labs in 10 countries.

The point is that the nature of innovation keeps evolving and organizations have to change with it.

That’s why IBM is adopting a new approach to innovation for our newly formed IBM Watson Group, which will be headquartered in New York’s Silicon Alley.  In the group, we are melding research, product development, experience design and collaboration with business partners and clients—all with the goal of accelerating the development of cognitive computing solutions for many of the world’s most vexing problems. This new era of computing requires a new approach to innovation.

Our Watson initiative builds on top of IBM’s long tradition of innovation, which placed IBM as the No. 1 recipient of US patents in 2013 for the 21st year in a row. We received 6,809 patents, easily outdistancing Samsung, the No. 2 finisher, with 4,676. The next US company on the top 10 list, Microsoft, ranked No. 5.

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Jay Katzen, President, Clinical Solutions, Elsevier

Jay Katzen, President, Clinical Solutions, Elsevier

By Jay Katzen

For our customers in the medical field, great research can enable great outcomes – from avoiding errors to ensuring patients feel comfortable and informed. 

 I know first hand how frustrating and anxiety-provoking a hospital visit can be. Not too long ago, I rushed to a hospital emergency room to seek treatment and was disturbed when my medical history wasn’t captured, tests weren’t explained, and no one helped me understand my diagnosis and treatment.

 Fortunately, the consequences weren’t grave. Still, I see my experience as a symptom of a healthcare system where it’s difficult for doctors to easily research the clinical information needed to make decisions, given the time constraints they face. Continue Reading »

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William Rusnak, Student, Drexel University College of Medicine

William Rusnak, Student, Drexel University College of Medicine

By William Rusnak

We are just beginning to see the full potential of the use of sensors in healthcare.

In fact, the day may soon come when acute changes in a patient’s vitals may be sent as an alert to the phone of a primary care physician. Giant fluctuations of glucose levels in the blood of diabetics may be detected without the need to repeatedly prick finger tips. Food diaries, home blood pressures jotted down on notepads, and face-to-face follow-up appointments will likely be a thing of the past.

The typical check-up that we know today may transform into the equivalent of getting your car’s computer inspected when the “check engine” light is on. Sensors will lead to more pertinent data collection, and with the right analytics, will significantly improve outcomes. Continue Reading »

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Kyu Rhee, MD, Chief Medical Officer, IBM

Kyu Rhee, MD, Chief Health Officer, IBM

By Kyu Rhee, MD

While emerging economies across the world are exploding, the sad fact is that chronic disease is taking its toll.

As the middle class grows across Africa, Asia and South America, people are living longer and also suffering from obesity and the effects of a more sedentary lifestyle. That translates into growing death rates from chronic disease.

In most African countries, cardiovascular disease is now the second leading cause of death after infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. It has been estimated that between 1990-2020, the burden of heart disease will double. Diabetes across the Middle East and North Africa has jumped 87 percent between 1990-2012, and stroke by 35 percent.

Approximately 70 percent of all cancer deaths occur in developing nations, according to the World Health Organization. That number is rising: for example, cancer is expected to increase in Sub-Saharan Africa by 85 percent by 2030. But that figure is only an estimate, since less than 1 percent of the region’s population is covered by cancer registries. Continue Reading »

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Linda Becker, President, NorthStar Network

Linda Becker, Chairman, Rochester General Hospital; President, NorthStar Network

By Linda Becker

Across the U.S. and around the world, businesses, governments and healthcare leaders realize the need to transform healthcare. New legislation and mandates cannot change the culture of a community or the trajectory of care or cost.

Recently I was invited to participate in a panel discussion as part of IBM’s Economic Development and Vitality Symposium in Washington, D.C., to share the dramatic story of how Rochester, N.Y., was able to transform itself in tough economic times through Smarter Care. It is an inspiring story of how to bring disparate groups together in a community to make a real difference for its citizens, and one that I am privileged to have been able to witness firsthand in my roles as Chairman of the Board of Rochester General Hospital and founder of a healthcare event and continuing education company called NorthStar Network. Continue Reading »

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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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