Friday, December 31, 2010

What will we do with IT?

While others are thinking hard about how to make Healthcare IT better with new stuff, I'm thinking about how we can take what we've started with and use it in more interesting ways.  As David Tao points out, we are about to open the fire hoses with patient data here in the US.

According to NCHS Survey data for 2007 there were more than 1.2 billion visits to office based physicians, emergency rooms, out patient centers (pdf), and hospital stays.  If 1 in 5 providers attain meaningful use next year, and assuming that accounts for 20% of visits and hospital stays (which is probably undercounting), that gives 240 million visits for which a summary document should be able to be generated.  If even 5% of those visits generate a summary of care document using the HITSP C32, that will generate 12 million documents.  Most organizations I would expect will not even bother to ask, but will simply generate those documents.  At the very minumum, I would estimate that there will be something like 100 million summary documents floating around.  This is not a huge amount in the era of Google, but still quite a bit of data.  I personally expect an order or two of magnitude more than that.

What will we do with all of this data?
  1. Read it.
  2. Chart it.
  3. Index it.
  4. Normalize it.
  5. Measure it.
  6. Reduce it.
  7. Expand it.
  8. Merge it.
  9. Split it.
  10. Dashboard it.
  11. Evaluate it.
  12. Secure it.
  13. Store it.
  14. Anonymize it.
  15. Sell it?
  16. Buy it?
What IT do we need to deal with it?  This is a HUGE opportunity for research and innovation.  What will we do with it?

1 comment:

  1. Hi Keith,
    First, thanks for the reference! What I took in a "micro" level (my own summary records) you took to the "macro" level, and those are very interesting stats indeed and I agree that they're probably undercounted. I think all of 1-14 will be done, though to what extent is hard to predict. Hopefully #12 will prevent #15 and #16 except where explicitly authorized by the patient (if some people donate their organs, even while alive, maybe some would donate or sell their data for beneficent or other purposes).

    What did you mean by #6? My interpretation is that it could be in combination with #8. Perhaps reconciliation would "reduce" the cognitive load by eliminating duplicates for example. Any summary by its very nature is already reduced from the complete record, and nearly every UI does some reduction compared to the raw data.