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CIO says digital transformation challenges centered on data

At the recent CDM Media CIO Boston Summit, Bill Gillis, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization, sat down with us to discuss how he is helping his healthcare organization adapt to today's business age and some of the digital transformation challenges he's faced in the process.

In this CIO Minute, Gillis explains that data collection as well as the delivery of data-based insights in a timely fashion are among the toughest digital transformation challenges he has faced at his organization. New technologies such as IoT and Amazon's Alexa hold promise for improving health outcomes and reducing costs, but, so far, there is no silver bullet.

Editor's note: The following transcript has been edited for clarity and length.

What are some of the digital transformation challenges you're facing?

Bill Gillis: In an accountable care, risk-based contract environment, the goal is to improve patient care, reduce cost and improve overall experience. What we're trying to do is, instead of the traditional way of doing analytics in a risk environment, is look at claims data. Our biggest challenge is that claims data tends to be 90 days lagged from when the event occurred. So, if you think about that from a care perspective, [you can have] a patient who could be having a diabetic incident at his physician's practice and when you're looking at that 90 days later, that patient probably ended up in the emergency room. There's no way to really track and trend that or put a care management team to them.

What we've been trying to do is look at real-time clinical data coming out of electronic medical records. So, every night, as physicians see their patients and they sign off in their notes, we're getting that data back in our data warehouse. It's massive amounts of data, but we take that, look at it, analyze the patients and try to generate reports and give information back to teams that will allow them to interact with the patients and head off any incidents and control costs, as well as keeping the patients more healthy and more satisfied with the experience.

The challenge is really the data, and that challenge increases as more data comes into the picture. We were looking into some of the things like trying to improve the patient experience with the internet of things and trying to gather data from home -- via blood pressure monitors or scales. I think we're going to jump past that because we haven't really been able to embrace it. But tools like Amazon's Alexa are in the home and people are used to interacting with those -- maybe that is really the next disruptive change.

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