Saturday, April 7, 2012

Knowledge (Data) is POWER In the Health System Part I


The title of today’s article is a cliché for most professionals, be it in medicine, law, accounting, education, entrepreneurship and everyone else.

“How much?” or “How many” is a key theme appearing in all of the above, whether it involves how successful you are, business planning, and budgeting.

Some prefer to keep their heads down and carry on as events swirl around them, preferring to continue on their thus far successful business and medical enterprise, rightly concerned that the chaos and confusion ‘out there’ will absorb emotional and intellectual energy which could be better put to work within their medical practice.

Some changes are gradual, like the tides,scarcely noticed on a minute to minute basis .  Other changes are waves, paradigm shifts, and even tsunamis,  inundating events as they come on shore, and causing even more damage leaving, sweeping out the remnants of the old structures.

Medical practices, hospitals, insurance companies, are all data gatherers as well as becoming the agent for exportation of their data for studies. At one time most of this data was highly private and guarded. However, today it is different. Some patients are clamoring for data, openness and transparency….access to their medical records,  and our government clamors for data to study  for information, so intently that it is willing to fund EMR and HIX at taxpayer expense. 

Your taxpayer dollars investing in information that may benefit you.  The dividends still very much in doubt.

The flow of knowledge (data) ever increases as the internet becomes the central technology in most commerce.  

It is necessary to have broadband access to avail use of Health Information Exchanges to share patient information. If not available dial up access is a poor substitute unless graphics poor, text only data is used.

Rural medical practices are in this empty space with poor access to the fiber and backbone of the global flow of information.  In fact unless you are in a metropolitan area, and even in some suburban locations you are at a disadvantage.

The next generation expects and depends upon the worldwide internet to function.

Some examples

New graduates select areas with broadband access for medical practice

Real estate values are much higher in areas with broadband. Housing sales suffer without it. Potential entrepreneurs seek regions with broadband access.

Part II of this topic  will address the enormous amounts of data now being accumulated and the developing inadequacy of our  present analytics to gather and process it.  I will discuss new techniques and processing algorithms that address this challenge to extract not just the data, but to interpret it.

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