Big Data Transforming Health IT
Big data is transforming the way health information technology professionals are striving to improve health care.
That was the message conveyed by a panel of speakers at a Health IT Forum hosted at Johns Hopkins University’s Montgomery County Campus.
The Health IT Forum series, held four times a year, is a community partnership co-sponsored by Montgomery Economic Development, the TechCouncil of Maryland and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. The November forum, titled “Improving Health Care through the Use of Big Data,” attracted dozens of IT experts from the region.
Panelists were Jennifer Geetter, partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP; Brian Hoyt, principal, health analytics, Berkeley Research Group; and Brian Krantz, senior principal, health data and informatics, at IMS Healthcare Solutions.
The trio addressed an issue that is becoming increasingly visible in the health care sector as technology advances and as the Affordable Care Act is implemented.
- Hoyt discussed the history of the information explosion and big data challenges for health care consumers, providers and insurers.
- Geetter talked about legal and patient privacy considerations surrounding the proliferation and sharing of big data.
- Krantz discussed how to improve quality and access to health care while controlling costs and risks. He also explained how disparate data sets are linked to give health professionals a better understanding of how patients use health care resources.
The discussion about big data was made more timely given the recent announcement from Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels and Provost Robert C. Lieberman regarding changes to the university’s Institute for Data Intensive Engineering and Science. Referred to as IDIES, the institute now includes the School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, in addition to the Krieger school of Arts and Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering and the Sheridan Libraries.
“As an interdivisional institute, IDIES will be able to harness the work of large teams in astrophysics, genetics, condensed matter physics, fluid mechanics, environmental science and bioinformatics, among others, that collect huge data sets,” Daniels and Liberman said in their announcement to the university. “The institute will then make the data sets available to much wider research communities. In fact, many of the data sets housed at Johns Hopkins eventually will be made available to scientists around the world.”
Johns Hopkins is also developing undergraduate and graduate opportunities that emphasize the skills required to use large data sets.
The Health IT Forums are a way for academics, business leaders, government representatives, researchers and others to share ideas and educate those who work in the technology sector.