Automating The Clinical Side Of Healthcare

Phyllis Teater, CIO, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
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Phyllis Teater, CIO, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations

I think the biggest challenge is the unceasing demand for more and more data. Now that the industry is finally making progress on automating the clinical side of healthcare, there is a tremendous demand to turn that data into actionable information used to take better care of patients. For a wish list, I would like to see the ability to write quick and really robust decision algorithms that make advantage of that data.

Areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier

Despite the advancement of HIEs, there are no solutions to truly integrate the workflows at different providers. We are beginning to exchange information on the back end, but true integration such as shared medication lists between disparate systems, or operational solutions that for instance allow transfers centers to understand true bed availability across available providers with different systems, do not exist. To get this integration, it takes building a third, intermediary system or such complex interfaces that cannot be build or maintained. The 2 things that keep me up at night are security and ICD-10.

Using data to head off problems and complications before they happen

We use our data to analyze order patterns and use that analysis to change order sets and the flow of our pathways to better utilize resources. We provide data to our research enterprise to enable them to make discoveries to accelerate the future of medicine. We provide both de-identified and identified data depending on the investigator’s IRB status.

Thoughts on IT strategic planning

These goals are at the core of our strategy to improve the care we provide our patients and must be integral to the strategic plan. The industry must prepare for the transformation that is coming related to population health. This takes a strong EMR, a robust analytics environment, and the kind of patient engagement tools that allow for interaction at a new level.

These needs must be tied to the overall IT strategy which must in turn be tied to the organizational strategic plan in order for them to be successful.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment

RFID applications can be used to improve safety, equipment tracking, recalls of drugs and implants, patient throughput, and many workflows for our clinicians and patients. We already use active RFID for some equipment tracking and hope to deploy passive for some additional use cases in the coming year. We are, of course, watching development in the mobility space, also.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO

Our technology has become so invasive that every department has tremendous demands to help them leverage technology for their part of the business. The CIO is often the gateway for that interaction at the executive level and that requires today’s CIO to understand the business even more than he or she understands technology.

Lessons learned as a CIO

Get into the business! Shadow a nurse for a day. Get into scrubs and observe in the OR. It is so hard to help to solve business problems if you don’t understand the business first hand.Take care of your staff.

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