Big Data: Coming Soon to Your Doctor’s Examining Room – Part 2

March 29, 2012 - 0 Comments

William Moore is Executive Vice President and CTO for CareCore National, LLC. CareCore’s private cloud is based on the Cisco Unified Data Center.

This is part 2 of Bill Moore’s blog focused on Big Data in the healthcare industry. Read part 1 and related blog, “It’s a Boy!”

In part 1 of my blog I proposed that the cloud is succeeding in enabling new healthcare models where the original electronic medical records (EMRs) vision stalled. The reason is that the cloud has the scale to manage and analyze very large data sets—so-called big data.

Big data and the new analysis tools it demands are changing the game for healthcare. They reveal insights about outcomes across very large reservoirs of patient information that previously weren’t possible to analyze, at least not in real time.

The vision is giving your doctors an evidence-based clinical tool that factors in your entire history, collected from multiple independent sources. These might include lab results, previous physician input, hospital data, and retrospective claims history. Placing this kind of tool in a physician’s hands at the moment of need is game-changing.

Evidence-Based Clinical Tools in the Cloud

That’s what we do at CareCore. The foundation of our service is evidence-based medicine sourced from panels of leading physicians in their fields. We’ve added workflows to support the physician in collecting patient information that big-data analysis has shown to influence outcomes.

Consider a physician is treating a cardiac patient. Not long ago, the physician had to rely solely his or her own historical training and knowledge, and whatever research a busy practice allowed. Today, that same physician can access real-time data on thousands of similar cardiologists treating tens of thousands of similar patients, and can review various appropriate courses of treatment in the context of efficacy for other patients like the one sitting in the exam room right now.

What Costs Less in Year One May Cost Far More by Year 10

The healthcare industry has used predictive models in the past, but they were based solely on retrospective claims data—for example, that a particular treatment had a 76 percent success rate. Rarely did these predictive tools outperform a good physician’s gut instincts, and they were, by definition, trailing.

Now, with big data in the cloud, physicians can answer the million-dollar question. That is, did a particular approach to the condition for patients similar to this patient beat the 76-percent average that the claims data predicted? Is the approach correlated with more or fewer bed days? More drug interventions?

With this type of cloud service, medical professionals might discover that the most aggressive approach, a $50,000 bypass surgery, provides a better outcome than prescribing pharmaceuticals or drug-eluding stents. Maybe the less aggressive treatment is likely to result in more interventions, ultimately costing ten times as much over the patient’s lifetime while degrading the patient’s quality of life.

What’s more, federating this information in the cloud enables a physician in a rural area who sees only 100 patients a year to make decisions informed by millions of lives.

Crowd Sourcing, for Ever Better Evidence-Based Medicine

The beauty of the cloud for healthcare decision-making is that the data set keeps growing, continually improving quality and accuracy. CareCore collected eight billion pieces of data about outcomes in 2011, up from five billion in 2010. And every day we add more data gleaned from more than 45,000 evidence-based clinical patient interactions.

Federating all of this data enables us to run queries to identify the physicians who outperform their peers treating a specific condition under a specific set of circumstances. We use advanced social media and collaboration tools to connect these individuals to our physician panels to share their knowledge. The feedback loop proves or improves evidence-based medicine and increases the velocity of learning. This is crowdsourcing at work in healthcare.

It’s the Science

It’s 2012. Medicine is science, not art, and science is steeped in data. Federating outcomes data in the cloud makes it available to physicians in ways that measurably improve outcomes. The ultimate beneficiaries are patients, who can benefit from big data regardless of their physician’s location or practice size.

To learn more:

Learn about CareCore National’s journey to the Cloud: video testimonial | case study

Read the Cisco Cloud Enablement Services Enterprise White Paper

Find out more about CareCore National’s partnership with Cisco, video

Visit the Cisco Cloud Solutions web page

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