ABSTRACT: While healthcare is data rich, it is generally information poor, leading to highly variable and uncertain outcomes, suboptimal workflows, many medical errors, and generally poor customer (patient) and staff experiences compared to almost any other industry. Moreover, healthcare expenses are growing unsustainably, both for individuals and for societies (economies) as a whole – even countries we use as examples are on the same unsustainable growth curve as the US, outgrowing GDP year after year.
There are several disruptive trends that are likely to offer new hope and opportunities in the next few years (as covered in several lectures in this class); most importantly, the emerging availability of electronic records of EVERYTHING and the promise of being able to obtain genomic information for high volumes of patients are getting to the “tipping point” to provide the foundation for a learning healthcare system. At the same time, however, we generally don’t even know whether a patient is in or out of bed at any given moment in time, and even if we did, there is a giant gap between having the information and enabling care givers to apply it in real time to make patients’ lives better. While there is a general willingness to invest in innovation and technology for the healthcare sector, overall this comes down to having to “fix the plane in mid-flight”: Every stakeholder faces life-or-death decisions on a daily basis, while the workflows and information models are incredibly complex. That’s where the focus of this lecture comes in – how do we bring real-time situational awareness to healthcare?