Digging Out

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 - Beth Walsh - Portrait
Beth Walsh, Editor

Maybe you’ve heard a little bit about the insane amount of snow that has piled up in the Northeast this winter. We’re still digging out but I think spring has sprung! A few patches of green are visible and the mountains of snow are starting to shrink.

The plowing and shoveling haven’t had any impact on the health IT landscape, that’s for sure. There’s no stopping the influx of data but more and more organizations are finding ways to put those data to good use.

Laura Pedulli wrote this issue’s cover story on data analytics. Surveys indicate that data analytics are a top priority for healthcare delivery organizations. The organizations Laura spoke with are utilizing a range of analytics initiatives, including outsourcing, partnering with a health information exchange and creating an in-house analytics division.

There are certainly pros and cons for each avenue but all have experienced impressive results particularly related to readmission and outcome measurement.

Data also are impacting health IT via patient-generated health data. I spoke with several organizations that have implemented pilot programs involving connected devices that aid in remote patient monitoring. Interfacing these devices with a system’s EHR, however, can be challenging. New offerings, such as Apple’s HealthKit, are simplifying this process and allowing for more efficient use of these data. 

I also spoke to Robert Wachter, MD, a noted patient safety expert, about his new book, The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age. Written to appeal to both medical professionals and the lay audience, Wachter spoke to more than 100 people for a wide range of expertise. The book offers an engaging chronology of the path modern medicine has taken in recent years and lays out a fascinating prediction of medicine’s future. I hope you find Wachter as interesting as I did.

Here’s to a bright and warm spring and here’s to hopes that it will be a long time before the next snowfall.