Category Archives: Technology

Hacking Silos at Medstro

socialized_medicineBy Jennifer J. Salopek

New website Medstro is bringing a social sensibility to the triple mission of academic medicine. Combining the status update and news feed features of Facebook with the conversational capabilities of an old-school online message board, Medstro aims to improve medical education, research, and patient care by giving doctors and medical students a space to connect and learn from one another in real time.

Jennifer Joe, MD, a nephrologist, bootstrapped and launched the social network with two colleagues, Jim Ryan and John Bachir, about a year ago. Its genesis lay in the challenges she encountered as a newly minted practicing physician. Continue reading Hacking Silos at Medstro

Big Data Strikes Again: Reducing Readmissions with Predictive Analysis

By Jennifer J. Salopek

PCCI is a nonprofit research and development organization founded six years ago out of Parkland Hospital in Arlington, Texas. Its signature product is Pieces, a software system that leverages predictive analytics to improve patient care. Vice President of Clinical Services Anand Shah, MD, MS, explained the concept in a session at the AAMC annual meeting in Chicago in November; and provided additional comments in a telephone interview.

Continue reading Big Data Strikes Again: Reducing Readmissions with Predictive Analysis

Sophisticated Information Technology Informs Patient Care at Intermountain

By Jennifer J. Salopek

Utah’s Intermountain Health has been using sophisticated information technology systems to track patient outcomes and prompt best practices for 15 years, and has had electronic health records for 40 years, says Stanley M. Huff, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer. Huff shared many of Intermountain’s challenges and successes in a session at the AAMC annual meeting in Chicago in November. Huff is also a clinical professor at the University of Utah, where he teaches a course in medical information standards, which he describes as “a big help to analytics.” A key challenge in data-driven medicine, according to Huff, is “getting good, standard, structured, coded data to the people who do the analytics.”

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Innovative App Automates Resident Evaluations for ERAS

By Sara Menso

I was hired by the University of Maryland School of Medicine in April of 2011. My manager, Kevin Brown, asked me to make things run more efficiently. I asked for a year to see how everything worked and I would see what I could do. I had never worked within a medical school, but one thing everyone seemed to be talking about was the upcoming MSPE season. It sounded like a huge, daunting project.

The Medical Student Performance Evaluation is a very detailed transcript of a medical student’s career. It is sent to residency programs as part of the residency application, and every medical school must create one for every fourth-year student applying to residency. From the way my co-workers were talking, I knew this document was very important: It could change the trajectory of a medical student’s life. But its creation was tedious and time-consuming.

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Transmitting Temporal Understanding in Residency Training

By Eran Bellin, MD

Time Time Time

See what’s become of me

— Paul Simon, “A Hazy Shade of Winter”

Medical residents are survivors, spending more than a decade running a punishing mind gauntlet. SATs, MCATs, Boards Part 1 & 2 are time-pressured, multiple-choice exams evaluating functionally defined competencies. What comes out of this mental meat grinder are people trained to spasmodically and rapidly associate one of four responses with singular rightness.

There is a pedagogical cost to this process—a cost manifest with a discomfort with uncertainty and an expectation that rightness is clear and instantly recognizable by those who are worthy. The elect are known by their success. The notion of iterative revelation of approximate truth through ongoing observation, experimentation, and evaluation is not philosophically reinforced.

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Crowdsourcing Humanitarian Innovation

By Jennifer J. Salopek

The cover of a recent issue of Parade magazine featured a photo of a girl with a bright blue prosthetic hand. The accompanying article was titled, “How 3-D Printing is Transforming Everything from Medicine to Manufacturing.” The writer noted that the girl’s Robohand cost “just $2,000.”

For many people around the globe, $2,000 might as well be $2 million. Fortunately, there’s e-NABLE, a nonprofit organization that exists at the intersection of ingenuity, innovation, and patient care. On a gorgeous fall Sunday in September, more than 400 people gathered at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore to talk about how they could help get prosthetics to underserved populations, especially children. I was lucky enough to be there.

Continue reading Crowdsourcing Humanitarian Innovation

Advanced IT Combines with Care Coordination to Improve Outcomes at U of Missouri

Care coordination can be different—and difficult—for Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries in a primary care environment. After forming a relationship with Cerner Corporation to develop innovative technologies and founding its Tiger Institute think tank, the University of Missouri Medical School was well-positioned to explore how information technology might be leveraged to aid care coordination. The goal of the LIGHT2 project, explains Lori Popejoy, PhD, APRN, GCNS-BC, was to engage patients and prepare the provider workforce to use technology to improve care. As Popejoy explains in the following video interview with Wing of Zock editor Jennifer Salopek, 23 care coordinators worked with 130 doctors and more than 10,000 patients to “Leverage Information Technology to Guide Hi-Tech, Hi-Touch Care” (LIGHT2). The results—decreased hospitalizations, decreased ED use, increased screenings, and decreased smoking—were sufficiently impressive to earn the Missouri team honors in the AAMC’s Clinical Care Innovation Challenge. An abstract of the project can be found here.

Aditazz’s Big Idea: Innovate Hospital Design to Lower Health Care Costs

By Susan Xu

Do you know how many steps a nurse walks every day in your hospital? How many trauma cases happened on the highway near your hospital in the past 10 years? How about the demographic trends or disease occurrence trends in your service area? According to Ajit Singh Ph.D., considering these factors can contribute to optimized hospital design that saves time and money. Continue reading Aditazz’s Big Idea: Innovate Hospital Design to Lower Health Care Costs