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Q&A: Kaiser Permanente's CIO on Predictive Analytics and Other Challenges

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, April 30, 2013

Sepsis-free hospitals? Predictive analytics is making them a reality. In the second part of a conversation with Kaiser Permanente CIO and executive vice president Phil Fasano, he discusses ' real-time healthcare', Meaningful Use, ICD-10, the CommonWell Alliance, and the shortage of skilled health IT staff. Fasano has written a book, Transforming Health Care, The Financial Impact of Technology, Electronic Tools, and Data Mining.

HealthLeaders: How does your book treat the topic of analytics? Do you get into it at all?


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HealthLeaders: What's the message of your book?

Fasano: I get into it a little bit, and I can tell you, as we're looking at the world of this space of healthcare and data, big data particularly, and the use of medical analytics—population care tools, chronic care management tools—[that] we've used them extensively at Kaiser Permanente.

And the forecast I'd make, and I believe I make in my book, is that the healthcare industry is just in its infancy in both getting and using data, and then analyzing that data sufficiently, so that we can get all the learnings from it. I believe that the largest medical breakthroughs are truly ahead of us, and not behind us.

HealthLeaders: I even hear the term "near-real-time analytics," defined as anything you can get before the patient is discharged.

Fasano: Yes. There's this concept of real-time healthcare, which is what the industry is moving toward, and predictive health, predictive analytics. [It's] basically looking at patients' current conditions, if they're in a hospital, and predicting they're going to get sepsis, and then treating them before they get sepsis.

At Kaiser Permanente, we've done that. Some of our hospitals have had no cases of sepsis for over a year, and that's great work to do, because obviously sepsis cases have really bad outcomes for patients.

That said, [there are] many conditions [to which you can apply] information technology, coupled with phenomenal caregivers who are focused on those conditions, to improve patient health, everything from cardiac patients to diabetic patients, to folks who are sitting in hospitals who could develop something like sepsis.

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