Healthcare IT crucial for treating complex medical conditions

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Healthcare IT, such as data warehousing, natural language processing and advanced use of medical informatics systems, is providing clinicians with more tools to diagnose, treat and monitor complex medical conditions, according to Information Week.

Big data, big solutions

The news source cited a study published by the Stanford University School of Medicine, which focused on the treatment of a seriously ill teenager suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), complicated by kidney dysfunction and pancreatitis. After searching the available literature on the condition, a lack of data from randomized controlled trials hampered efforts to treat the girl effectively.

Before agreeing upon a course of treatment, doctors consulted data in the hospital’s medical informatics network and the Stanford Translational Research Integrated Database Environment (STRIDE) data warehouse. Using this system, clinicians discovered records for 98 other patients suffering from SLE with similar complications. Examination of the records revealed that this illness places the patient at increased risk of blood clots. As such, doctors administered anticoagulant drugs to the girl as a primary course of treatment.

The next level of data warehousing

This case serves as an example of how medical informatics systems combined with large volumes of patient data can provide clinicians with the information they need to tackle complex medical conditions.

At a recent meeting of the Managed Care Executive Group (MCEG) in Florida, officials from healthcare providers across the country identified the top 10 concerns facing care facilities and providers in the coming year. Sophisticated use of medical informatics systems alongside advanced data warehousing were among the issues discussed at the event.

“This year there was an overwhelming sense that everything seems to be a top priority,” Vince Ferri, chairperson of MCEG and chief information officer of AvMed Health Plans, said in a statement. “The forum discussions provided critical insight for MCEG members to consider relevant factors that will lead to their health plan’s success.”