Modern Technologies- Key Assets to Understand Healthcare Data

Julius Bogdan, Director of Analytics and Data Innovation, SCL Health
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Julius Bogdan, Director of Analytics and Data Innovation, SCL Health

1. How can Big Data Integration and Analytics improve the Health sector?

The healthcare industry has become data rich through the digital transformation of healthcare, and we now have more data flooding in than we know what to do with. We need modern architectures like Big Data to help us deal not only with the volume of data, but the velocity, as it’s only going to increase exponentially. At a basic level, big data allows us to ingest data from a variety of data sources (patient records, census information, environmental data, images, Internet of Things data from devices, etc.) and build data sets for analysis and pattern detection without the limitations of traditional data warehouse design patterns.

This allows us to analyze our historical data to create a baseline of where we are and build a foundation for maturing into predictive and prescriptive analytics. Big data then allows us to create predictive models based on a number of factors for improving patient care (early sepsis detection, diabetes risk, early heart failure detection) and optimizing our care delivery models (readmission rates, population health risk stratification, patient engagement).

2. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?

I’m most excited about Artificial Intelligence (AI), as it will truly revolutionize how we deliver care in the future. I see today’s AI learning capabilities on data sets (the bigger the set the better) opening up new insights for hypotheses about basic care and operations. In the future it will allow for exploring countless molecular pathways for drug development addressing a wide spectrum of diseases. It will provide physicians with augmented-reality diagnostic tools that can detect disease states years before any symptoms develop. With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) we will not only be able to collect and analyze that information but transform and tailor how those devices interact with our patients. We are still in the early phases of big data and advanced analytics but we are keeping an eye out for the disruptions that AI could potentially bring to the table.

3. How can the evolving technologies help Hospital/Healthcare INDUSTRY overcome the challenges?

The healthcare industry is very fragmented when it comes to data with each line of business application having its own database, data warehouse, and analytics tools. Trying to get data across multiple vendors and domains is a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process. Evolving technologies such as big data, advanced analytics, and data visualization allow us to automate our data pipelines, build data sets and actually get to insight from our data. We can then take that insight and operationalize it to really help propel the organization and healthcare forward. These technologies also help us pivot our focus from transactional systems (EHR, GL, Time and Attendance) to a patient, outcomes, or population focus, and all the data elements those entail regardless of where that data comes from.

4. Even though you do not measure your team on project deadlines, fast delivery must still be important to you. How are you delivering faster?

We are delivering faster by combining modern design patterns and architectures with new ways of addressing problems. We leverage data blending and automation tools along with an intuitive presentation layer to take out thousands of hours of manual labor and bring solutions to bear in a matter of weeks not months. We use modern architectures leveraging a data to bypass traditional data warehouse design and get relevant data sets from more sources quickly. We bring concepts such as design thinking where we better understand the “why” for each solution and build the right one. We also borrow principles from methodologies like Agile to create ideation frameworks that lead to solutions in a couple of weeks that normally would take us months or years to build. As we propagate these methodologies across the organization, we can realize faster time-to-value, improve efficiencies, and fail fast if necessary versus the traditional waterfall model approach that is pervasive in healthcare.

  ​We are still in the early phases of big data and advanced analytics but we are keeping an eye out for the disruptions that AI could potentially bring to the table 

5. What changes have you seen in the IT operating model of your organization during the last five years?

Over the last five years, IT has undergone a substantial transformation. Business now has a wide array of tools at their disposal through technologies and platforms such as Cloud Services, SaaS, Advanced Analytics, etc. They are looking at the best solution to align to their initiatives and business needs regardless of whether it comes from IT or not. IT needs to make the transition from running the infrastructure and traditional IT domains of Networking, Telecom, Storage, etc. to a strategic business partner. In order to do that, IT needs to bifurcate into a highly evolved and automated operations organization and an innovation center to effectively support business strategy. IT needs to better understand the full technology landscape and the business strategy in order to make effective recommendations to help enable drivers of the business.

6. What is your advice for the upcoming or budding CIOs?

My advice to upcoming or budding CIOs is to:

• Better align with key business drivers of your organization
• Understand the rapidly evolving technology landscape
• Communicate in business terms the value of your proposals
• Start shifting resources into innovation so you can address the needs of the future

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