Tuesday, 27 August 2013 09:53

More healthcare providers look to biomedical informatics to help patients

A database featuring millions of bits of information extracted from a person's DNA could be the key to helping patients affected by rare diseases and other unique medical conditions get the help they need.

Biomedical and healthcare informatics, which this database falls under, has been revolutionizing the medical industry in recent years, providing a meaningful way for healthcare professionals to interpret complex digital information.

"We go from data to information, to knowledge to wisdom," Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D., director of the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute, told the Star Tribune. "And unless we have a very systematic way of looking at the data, we will not only lose a lot of the information, but also, we will do harm, in my opinion."

For healthcare professionals, this genomic database and the process needed to take DNA data for it is indicative of a larger trend among medical workers to analyze and make use of information found in big data centers.

Collaboration and interoperability among physicians, healthcare providers, administrators and other professionals is more crucial than ever before.

In 2012, the Obama administration announced that more than $200 million would be dedicated by federal departments and agencies to fund the Big Data Research and Development Initiative. Under the program, the Obama administration aims to improve the healthcare community's ability to extract and analyze large stores of big data.

Partnerships make big data possible
Big data like biomedical informatics can help healthcare professionals observe changes in a patient's overall wellness and facilitate better treatment options and outreach efforts. Consequently, this could have an important impact on the positivity of patient outcomes and enhance the likelihood that individuals will enjoy better health over time.

However, implementing big data and other forms of healthcare analytics - which could broadly include software for electronic health records and clinical archiving systems, as well - can be tricky for some practices and hospitals without the right partnerships in place.

"[Predictive analytics is] the part they're most excited about and frankly that's where they have the most deficiencies in terms of staff knowledge, tool sets and capabilities," Curt Sellke, vice president of Analytics at the Indiana Health Information Exchange, told EHRIntelligence. "Predictive analytics is new enough for everybody that people are looking for a trusted partner."

Specifically, accountable care organizations and hospitals may look for health IT vendors and providers that have merged together to gain access to reliable sources of support for comprehensive data sets and predictive modeling, the news source reported.

While there can be challenges to coordinating this distribution, administrators that do find strategically partnered health IT providers may experience a range of benefits as a result.


News brought to you by TeraMedica, Inc., leaders in healthcare enterprise imaging (VNA) solutions.