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If the healthcare system were a patient, and we were its doctors, we would be unable to read its vital signs. That has to change.

Healthcare Solutions

A dose of insight for healthcare


According to the World Health Organization (link resides outside of ibm.com), as many as one in ten patients in developed countries is actually harmed while receiving hospital care. The organization also finds that additional hospitalization, litigation costs, infections acquired in hospitals, lost income, disability and medical expenses have cost some countries between US$ 6 billion and US$ 29 billion a year (link resides outside of ibm.com).

Causes of these ailments include inefficiency and misaligned incentives. Money does not buy quality. There is too little patient involvement in our disease-centered world.

While healthcare organizations are amassing vast amounts of data, multiple versions of the truth producing errors in hospital, patient care and payment processes. Physicians have been on information overload for decades, contributing to the estimated 15% of diagnoses that are inaccurate or incomplete (Harvard Business Review, April, 2010). We don't understand why medicine works for one patient but not another. And growing shortages of nurses and medical specialists put more strain on broken systems.

But rather than focus on what is wrong with healthcare, let's imagine how information insights—coupled with clinical collaboration—can dramatically improve quality of care, patient safety and outcomes, while also improving the cost-effectiveness of care.

The smarter approach to healthcare is one that turns data into clinical and business insights for better outcomes. It instruments processes with those insights in real time for point of care decisions and productivity. And hospitals, medical centers and clinicians can work smarter (US) by bringing seamless, patient-centered, holistic and proactive approaches into their interactions with a patient, to deliver better care experiences that emphasize prevention and wellness.

Forward-thinking organizations are connecting their healthcare data, systems and processes to facilitate secure communications and information sharing. The IBM Institute for Business Insights provides proven return on investment for such iniatives (US). Taking this step can help establish the foundation for smarter healthcare systems that seamlessly deliver integrated care, centered on the patient.

Electronic health records for evolving healthcare

Patients, doctors, journalists and IBMers talk about the pivotal role of electronic health records in creating safer, smarter, more interconnected healthcare systems.

Perspectives on Watson: healthcare

The ability to deliver precise answers to support a medical diagnosis could go a long way toward addressing a key challenge facing physicians. Watson, the IBM computing system designed to play Jeopardy!, could help physicians to deliver more accurate diagnosis and treatment decisions.

 


 

Individuals will be served by collaborative, coordinated health systems. Governments. Address the current lack of sustainability by providing leadership and political willpower, removing obstacles, encouraging innovation and guiding countries to sustainable solutions. Communities. Make realistic, rational decisions regarding lifestyle expectations, acceptable behaviors and healthcare rights and economies. Pharmaceuticals and Device Manufacturers. Work collaboratively with care delivery organizations, clinicians and individuals to create products that improve outcomes and lower costs. Care Delivery Orgaznizations. Expand the current focus on episodic acute care to encompass the enhanced management of chronic diseases and the life-long prediction and prevention od illness. Doctors and other Caregivers. Develop partnership with individuals, payers/health plans and other stakeholders, collaborating to promote and deliver more evidence-based and more personalized healthcare. Payers and Health Plans. Help individuals remain healthy and get more value from the healthcare system while assisting care delivery organizations and clinicians in delivering higher-value healthcare.

Individuals will be served by collaborative, coordinated health systems.

Governments
Address the current lack of sustainability by providing leadership and political willpower, removing obstacles, encouraging innovation and guiding countries to sustainable solutions.
Communities
Make realistic, rational decisions regarding lifestyle expectations, acceptable behaviors and healthcare rights and economies.
Pharmaceuticals and Device Manufacturers
Work collaboratively with care delivery organizations, clinicians and individuals to create products that improve outcomes and lower costs.
Care Delivery Orgaznizations
Expand the current focus on episodic acute care to encompass the enhanced management of chronic diseases and the life-long prediction and prevention od illness.
Doctors and other Caregivers
Develop partnership with individuals, payers/health plans and other stakeholders, collaborating to promote and deliver more evidence-based and more personalized healthcare.
Payers and Health Plans
Help individuals remain healthy and get more value from the healthcare system while assisting care delivery organizations and clinicians in delivering higher-value healthcare.


 

Essential steps to smarter healthcare

The healthcare industry now needs to perform on a more competitive, outcomes basis, shifting from fee for service to value based on quality and cost. Here are a few examples of organizations that are focusing on different aspects of quality and making real progress.

 

Efficiency and quality of care
Healthcare organizations can use analytics to uncover insights to identify and act on meaningful trends in clinical and quality indicators, making processes more efficient.

  • Servicio Extremeño de Salud (US) (SES) improved patient care with an integrated healthcare information management system.
  • Antwerp Hospital Network in Belgium accelerated time to obtain financial results with a new information management solution based on IBM Cognos 8 BI.
  • The University of North Carolina (US) unified multiple data sources in a robust data warehouse solution, making it possible to support a research agenda that includes cohort selection, quality improvement and disease management.

Clinician effectiveness
Whether at the bedtime, in the operating room or the emergency department, the time that care providers spend with patients is of the utmost value.

  • Saint Michael's Medical Center (US) uses smart automatic tracking systems to help eliminate inefficiency, improve patient safety and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost and underutilized equipment. It also prevents caregivers from spending valuable patient care time looking for the equipment they need.
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (US) developed SmartRoom, a workflow optimization system that leverages clinical intelligence to guide nursing decisions and activities.

Use analytics to predict outcomes
Correlating and analyzing information including patient demographics, diagnostic information and clinical data can help to identify and develop more effective treatments, leading to more personalized care.

  • Centerstone Research Institute (PDF, 1.03MB), a large American mental health institute, improved patient outcomes and contained costs by deploying a data mining solution built on IBM SPSS Statistics and IBM SPSS Modeler software that analyzes multivariable patient treatment information to improve predictions of patient outcomes and help clinicians optimize treatments.

Improve care for patients with chronic disease
According to the World Health Organization (link resides outside of ibm.com), heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, representing 60% of all deaths.

  • During the long running chronic disease management process, Peking University People's Hospital (US) helps patients and clinicians clearly understand what clinical activities took place in the past, what actions should be taken at the point of care, and the next steps to take.
  • Reports and proactive alerts for disease management can help physicians to better serve the needs of their patients and improve outcomes.

Use genetic insights to help diagnose hereditary disease
Incorporating individualized patient information into analyses using advanced analytics can help to determine more effective treatments.

  • Italy's Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute (US) sought stronger tools to study the genetic underpinnings of rare hereditary bone diseases. With IBM, they developed a first-of-a-kind pedigree analytics platform that integrates genomic data, medical images and family history into a powerful research tool.