IBM: Helping To Shape The Future Of Medicine
So I’m curious, anybody out there been to see a doctor recently?
Do you sometimes wonder if you stepped back in time? Filling out the same paperwork over and over and over…and over again?
My own general practitioner just basically kicked me out of his practice — he’s asking for an upfront fee once a year for a special service he’s offering to try and offer “better service” to his clients.
And come to think, all I wanted was a check up once in a while and somewhere to go when the nasty flu hits.
Well, fifty years after IBM and Akron Children’s Hospital launched an ambitious project to build the first computer-based patient records system, why am I not surprised to find that only one percent of hospitals are using electronic records to their full potential — this according to the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
Sure, there are a host of issues to address in dealing with such records, not the least of which are security, privacy, and access. But while we’re debating these pros and cons, an increase of chronic diseases and aging populations around the globe has increased the pressure on healthcare providers to operate more efficiently while providing better care.
Hence, my GP kicking me out of his office unless I’m prepared to pay a $1,600/year membership for his practice (a fee NOT covered by any insurance).
Check out this blog post to read how the CIO of Akron Children’s Hospital explains how overcoming the challenges that confronted healthcare providers a half-century ago remains an elusive goal even today.
How IBM Is Helping
IBM is helping hospitals, insurance companies and healthcare providers use digital information and electronic records to improve patient care through a variety of means. While transforming healthcare is a complex challenge, the hard work of creating a more effective, sustainable system that delivers better service and value to patients has begun.
As mentioned already, and per Tom Ogg’s blog post, global healthcare transformation depends on universal adoption of electronic health records, which are the basic building blocks of healthcare efficiency. IBM has a long history of creating and connecting systems to share patient information.
Health analytics are also going to play a central role in driving real change in the healthcare system by ushering in a new age of smarter decision-making. Healthcare organizations can use analytics to publish metrics on how hospitals are performing; create scorecards for enabling doctors to help chronic patients get better; and change behavior to help doctors and nurses make more intelligent and informed decisions.
IBM also brings deep expertise in applying, integrating and maintaining complex systems. That is coupled with our broad expertise in life sciences, bioinformatics and the full spectrum of healthcare disciplines. Emerging technologies like Watson could further IBM’s ability to help physicians and nurses identify the most effective treatment options for patients and enable new healthcare innovations.
You can learn more about some of these new capabilities in this short video in which IBM healthcare experts Bill Rollow and Lorraine Fernandez explain both the economic and patient benefits of creating a more “horizontal” electronic health information system.