If ICPA turns the data into information they can act on, "we get lower costs and a much faster way to get to information we provide,'' says Froehlich. "That's where our big hope is ... improving care without spending as much."
"We're at the cusp of a whole new way of [looking at] medical research,'' says UOIT's McGregor. "Data is multidimensional ... we have new types of data in just the neonatal setting we're looking to collect,'' such as brain activity and drugs being infused. Beyond looking at infection and apnea in preemies, they're also starting to look at other conditions, like hemorrhage of the brain in babies and adults. "We're targeting the most life-threatening conditions ... where we can make a significant difference."
IDC's Feldman acknowledges that "the technology itself is never going to be perfect... but computers, unlike people, are consistent." People can make judgments, though, and computers can't, so "if you combine the two, the outcome is more powerful" than relying on one or the other alone. Computers can "boost a physician's understanding of a patient" by crunching through more information than a human possibly could, and by then finding patterns in that information.
She sees predictive analytics and structured data making serious inroads within health care in the next five years, which will result in reduced costs and fewer adverse situations. The ability to use information better, says Feldman, "will substantially alter the future of health care."
Esther Shein is a freelance writer and editor. She can be reached at email@example.com .
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