Crucial breakthroughs in the treatment of many common diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's could be achieved by harnessing a powerful scientific approach called systems biology, according to leading scientists from across Europe. Systems biology is a rapidly advancing field that combines empirical, mathematical and computational techniques to gain understanding of complex biological and physiological phenomena. (via Key to future medical breakthroughs is systems biology)
The Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative is a coalition of major employers, consumer groups, patient quality organizations, health plans, labor unions, hospitals, physicians and many others who have joined together to develop and advance the patient centered medical home. (via Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative )
If anyone needed further proof that Healthcare 2.0, ehealth or whatever you want to call it is coming, one need only look at the major push that the good folks at Google are making on this front:
It's unfortunate, but we've probably all been affected by cancer, whether it's personal, close family or even sad news about a long lost friend. We all know the urgency and understand the desire to find a cure, or at least a better treatment. And we've all heard the mantra -- the sooner the better and we know that early diagnosis is key to success.
There is a lot of promising research but many times it is not in a stage to be funded. That's why I think last week's announcement with IBM and researchers from The Cancer Institute of New Jersey (CINJ) and Rutgers University was so exciting and reallly showed the impact of IBM's innovation.
We announced a collaborative research effort to further the development of diagnostic tools that will help pathologists more accurately classify cancer and develop personalized treatment options for patients.
This project was awarded a $2.5-million grant from the National Institutes of Health and received an equipment grant from IBM. None of this could have happened without the critical proof of concept to assure that the new approach was valid and reliable and would provide results of great accuracy and detail than ever before.
All that was needed was some time on a supercomputer and luckily, we could mobilize the computational power of our "virtual supercomputer", World Community Grid. Our "Help Defeat Cancer” (HDC) project, spearheaded by Dr. Foran at CINJ, harnessed the unused computational power from hundreds of thousands of PCs and laptops donated by individuals around the glove. You can read more about it here in this Scientific American article.
It's a great proof point that World Community Grid is having a positive impact on research...and anyone with a computer and Internet access can help advance other research that may one day save lives! Sign up easily by going to http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org and installing a small, secure and free program.
PCs and laptops running Windows, Linux and Mac OS are all welcome. And note to researchers, World Community Grid can provide the virtual supercomputing power you may need for free as well. Submit a proposal here.
Lots of interesting news on the medical imaging front, and great work by my colleagues Tim Washer on the podcast, and Jeff Gluck with a related video clip on how IBM is working with Mayo Clinic to advance medical imaging.
What if algorithms from the high-resolution gaming industry and analytics from oil exploration were applied to the field of medical imaging? Using supercomputers to integrate data from multiple sources and display it in a 3D representation could help doctors improve the accuracy of diagnoses, while reducing costs to make these advancements available to more patients. Tune in to a conversation with Dr. Brad Erickson, director of radiology informatics lab at the Mayo Clinic and Bill Rapp, IBM healthcare and life sciences CTO.
Dr. Brad Erickson director of radiology informatics lab, Mayo Clinic
Bill Rapp IBM CTO, healthcare
Listen to the podcast hosted by Lorie Luedke:
And watch this video on the new Medical Imaging Research Center that Mayo Clinic and IBM are launching.
For more information on the new field of medical imaging informatics, check out this site for a white paper, photos, etc.
Spotted this series of five papers gathered in an issue of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) which are part of the Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development, organized by the Council of Science Editors.
As Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, JMIR's editor and director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at University of Toronto points out, this online resource was the only Medline-indexed health informatics journal participating in this initiative.
In this reflective season, I am glad to be reminded that many aspects of eHealth are about saving lives, and that the kinds of innovations that technology may offer to improve human life may be most important in parts of the world struggling with the complex matrix of poverty, disease and despair.
FYI, IBM is actively innovating on both the healthcare IT front and virtual worlds innovation, and I am trying to help those two streams intersect.
Thoughts and comments on how virtual and 3D technologies can advance healthcare are most welcome.
Dr. John Hsu, a physician scientist at Kaiser Permanente remarked: “Just having electronic medical records is simply not enough. How you integrate it into clinical practice is critical. It is a question of when and how should we use them (EMR).” This key point effectively captures the underlying rationale for Healthcare Services Bus (HSB).
Why do we need HSB?
According to 2007 Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, among the top priorities for healthcare organizations are clinical automation and integration/standardization. Providers have been deeply involved in implementing EMR for the past several years and will be severely challenged to invest in new technologies and solutions. However, they see an acute need to integrate and make disparate systems interoperable. The healthcare enterprise is very disconnected. Applications and services were developed in silos. Even the few integration efforts are isolated, use non-standard and proprietary mechanisms leading to high sunk costs and inflexibility.
What is HSB?
The HSB is a healthcare-specific services integration platform based on the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB). The HSB will add services and features specific to the healthcare domain atop the ESB. These services are to support integration of applications and services within and across healthcare enterprises.
HSB will enable rich, complex, and high-value workflows across applications, departments, and geographic locations. Such services are not as easily feasible with existing proprietary and isolated infrastructure.
Here is a simple yet powerful example of how HSB can demonstrate
value. Currently a physician after a patient visit enters chart data into a
clinical system and then may have to (depending on their EMR) use
a separate billing system to initiate claims submission. As the physician is
extremely busy and the IT systems disconnected, hospitals lose significant
patient revenue due to claims failures and denials. Importantly, there is lack
of comprehensive view of Key
Performance Indicators (KPI) regarding quality of care, operational
efficiency, and financial productivity. Using the HSB, clinical and billing
systems can be integrated using sophisticated workflows. They can then be combined
with KPI monitoring to provide a dashboard
for measuring performance along various perspectives. By doing so, the HSB enables decision-making based on
HSB will provide a rich bundle of core platform services to enable rapid development. Initially, we envision services such as terminology, anonymization, patient consent, and KPI. We are especially keen on supporting IHE standards, the industry flag-bearer for integrating healthcare enterprises. What would you like to see HSB address? Do you have challenges that you have run into frequently?
HSB will enable connectivity to not only existing customer-facing applications (e.g. EMRs) but also to clinical databases, warehouses and services provided by your existing vendors such as McKesson, Cerner, Epic, etc. Vendors will not only be able to create new services to integrate existing enterprise applications using workflows via the HSB but also integrate with their own infrastructure.
HSB is envisioned to drive new and powerful workflow-enabled capabilities beyond integration and interoperability within the healthcare organization. We would love to hear from you and start a conversation on what’s needed, wanted, and imperative.
A tip 'o the blog to Anne Zieger at FierceHealthcare for her list of promising young Healthcare IT players.
Top Health IT Innovators 2007
|1.||Enhanced Medical Decisions (EMD)|
Communications and strategy expert specializing in smarter planet, virtual worlds & 3D Internet, social software and networking, Web 2.0 and collaborative innovation, healthcare information technologies,corporate strategy and communications, nanotechnology commercialization