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Big Data Sparks a Quest for Simplicity

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media, December 18, 2012

Can the hospital quickly identify all the patients who are bedridden, or all the pregnant moms? If not, why not? We need to demand simplicity and power from our technology, not more complexity. We have to identify where the worst practices are happening. If our IT systems can't do that, how good are they really?

The challenge of simplifying all technology, including the crucial analytics technology featured in our December roundtable highlights, is the challenge of 2013. "We have to figure out ways to make this easier," says Joe Kimura, MD, MPH, medical director of analytics and reporting systems at Atrius Health.

Over the past year, I've spent hours listening to the recorded meetings of the ONC Health IT Policy and Standards Committees and various subcommittees and tiger teams. One such meeting happened on June 7, the Quality Measures Workgroup Clinical Quality Public Hearing.

Speaker after speaker, including Kimura, sounded a clarion call for simplicity amidst the technology tsunami. It is recommended listening, and since there's also a transcript, recommended reading as well.


Scott Mace is senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.
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2 comments on "Big Data Sparks a Quest for Simplicity"


Phyllis Kritek (12/19/2012 at 9:41 AM)
Kudos for tackling this tough topic. Your interest in distinguishing EMR from EHR may be more complex than you think. It points to an ingrained health care cultures dilemma that warrants your reflection. While the discipline of medicine often assumes all data on the patient might best be referred to as the data of "medicine", the other health professions view medicine's data as just that, the contribution of one essential source but not the only one. The composite of data from all health care contributors, including the patient, creates the health care data set. IT professionals often see the dilemma but do not see that it is embedded in an old and fairly resistant mindset that our colleagues in medicine often continue to embrace. I wish you well in your challenge. I know it well. This disconnect, among others, has us all drowning in poorly integrated data...

Joe Nichols MD (12/18/2012 at 2:05 PM)
At last! A breath of sanity. While everyone is heading towards the "Big Data" promised land, someone is finally asking the key question. Is more data better. The current challenge is not that we don't have enough data, it's that we don't have enough data that is standard, clearly defined, complete, accurate and all the other parameters of data quality that most organization many organization ignore. My experience in looking at multiple data from multiple entities is that better data quality is far more valuable that more bad data.