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RSNA 2015

GE leadership highlights hospital interoperability challenges: RSNA

by John W. Mitchell , Senior Correspondent
At a panel discussion in the cavernous GE Healthcare booth at the 2015 RSNA, John Flannery, GE Healthcare CEO, led a panel discussion with GE Chairman Jeff Immelt and two senior health care leaders about the changes radiology professionals can expect to deal with in the next few years.

“I know one thing on the mind of all our customers is how do you take all of this information… and turn it into meaningful outcomes – whether it's clinical outcomes or workflow outcomes? I think this is health care’s biggest challenge today,“ said Flannery, setting the tone of the group’s discussion

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Dr. Rasu Shrestha, CIO at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UMPC) said that health care has moved from the shift of film to analog to now possessing lots of data to leverage. The next phase will be deciding how to use the data.

“At UMPC we have over 8.5 petabytes of data and it doubles every 24 months,” said Shrestha, a radiologist. “So the question is what do we do with the data – how do we make it more actionable? As we’ve slowly come out of the dark corners of the reading rooms what we are seeing is that future of health care – the future of imaging – is going to be value-based… and based on the shoulders of the strongest partnerships.”

Shrestha said the next step is leveraging the power of data to focus on machine learning analytics and deep learning to create better insight. He likened radiologists to detectives trying to “connect the dots of information across silos of information.” Shrestha also said that the goal is to get caregivers away from computer screens with the knowledge and time to talk to the patient face-to-face.

“I’m always piecing information together. When we have just enough information, that’s when we make a care decision. That’s just enough health care,” explained Shrestha. “I think that just enough health care is not good enough. I think with the power of the cloud and data and analytics we can do so much more.”

Shrestha also said that payment innovation is also a must.

"The concept of accountable care organizations is not a bad thing,” he told HCB News. “Physicians should be held accountable for leveraging data to work together to make good financial decisions, as well as good clinical decisions.”

At Humber River Hospital (HRH) – North America’s first digital hospital – President and CEO Rueben Devlin is widely considered to be creating the hospital of the future. He too sees interoperability between medical devices and outcomes as the next key step.

“We have a lot of data. Some of it is not very useful,” said Devlin. “Where I’d like to see (analytics) go is to a predictive model. So that it helps in keeping people out of our facility. Or once they’re discharged, who's going to get into trouble so we can intervene, so they don’t have to come back to our facility. That would be valuable use of information.”

Devlin said the vision at HRH is to be lean, green and digital. He too spoke of converting information into clinical decision tools so that staff could spend more time with patients, to get caregivers away from writing. He too mentioned predictive models and talked of command centers to monitor patients’ vital signs once they leave the hospital.

As chairman of GE, Immelt said the company's overall priority is to listen to its customers and patients to learn what they need to manage care. He said that although the company spends a billion dollars a year developing hardware, GE is working to “marry” that with digital and information investments.

“I think things have changed in the past two or three years as much they might have in the last ten to 15 years. The theme of this whole show is to partner with our customers, with outcomes. That’s the world our customers are living in – (achieving) better patient experience, better clinical analyses, better cost and clinical treatments.”

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