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Where the Money Is: Healthcare Technology

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, October 9, 2012

Keep in mind that UPMC already has a substantial set of data warehouse technologies in place throughout the organization. The new $100 million effort doesn't replace any of those. Down the road, there could come a point at which they get combined into a larger, unified warehouse. But the effort to get something done now in personalized medicine doesn't afford UPMC the luxury of stopping to sort all that out.

"There are data warehouses associated with our electronic health records that lend insight to the clinicians who you know are just trying to understand their own departments and tend to find efficiencies there," Khorey says. "What the higher-level personalized medicine data warehouse really seeks to answer are the points of intersection, where either the business units cross boundaries, or the patient crosses boundaries. And it's not limited just to discrete data, but also has an unstructured data or a ‘big data' element to it that actually is not available in the other data warehouses."

Non-profit status allows UPMC to avoid paying $42 million in property taxes to municipalities, school districts and the county, which helps explain why the system didn't have to fish around under the couch cushions for that kind of scratch.

It's all happening at once in healthcare. As small community hospitals try to scrape together the resources they need to attest to Meaningful Use guidelines, large systems like UPMC double down on mind-numbingly large capital and operating outlays to push patient care and science through technology. Somewhere down the road, the big are bound to swallow the small, don't you think?


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "Where the Money Is: Healthcare Technology"


jkuriyan (10/9/2012 at 3:16 PM)
There are plenty of data warehouses in healthcare - most of them trying to catch "outliers". If I'm to use an analogy with accounting, we in healthcare are using "general ledgers" capturing all the transactions - and spotting the highest, lowest etc. We need to get to the next phase. In accounting it was the use of business ratios and similar ones in economics too. There is a huge amount of information buried in all these warehouses - but they are accessible only to a small group of people, most of them without the modern mathematical skills to get to the next stage. I wish they would set aside 10% of the funds in trying to revisit the data they already have - and develop some interesting new models, as economists have.