Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I liked how Colin Hung (@Colin_Hung) put it in his blog “white space dominates” at HIMSS12  - I was afraid maybe it was just me – was I working too much and not looking hard enough for the new and exciting.   So, I have waited an entire weekend before writing my final blog HIMSS12.  I went back and reread some of the blogs I posted after HIMSS11 including two of my favorites The Patient as a Consumer and The New Economy.   Ironically, not most heavily trafficked but a good glimpse into the way I see things.

I debated back and forth about what to post – I could blast a few people and companies for same-o-same-o booths, technology that is still behind the times, promising more than they can deliver, or when people said or did things that were “just business” but were frankly just wrong.    It seems like everyone was focused on refinement of existing ideas instead of pushing anything new.   The most disappointing comments I heard circled around “proprietary” databases and not sharing information.   I wish I would have had the gumption to say…… brrring brrring – that’s the 80’s calling and they want their proprietary database back.  Or quote my friend Epatient Dave "Give me my Darn Data" (this is a G rated blog so I changed the wording a bit)  I know that sounds a little childish as a response but after I got over being angry (which for me equated to tears) – I realized that companies that believe that it’s better to stifle innovation are going to get left behind at some point.  Proprietary databases are just pride lived out in our geekery.

The most exciting things were announcements from the government on ICD-10 and MU #2 – I read a great blog about this by @JohnSharp  http://healthworkscollective.com/node/29411

“Big Data” we are generating more data than ever before – the EMR is just part of it – the tip of the clinically documented iceberg.   I was enamored by @ReginaHoliday ’s profound statement that her husband posted 6 different times on his facebook conditions that could have indicated he had kidney cancer.    We document our lives to 400 of our closest friends….if the data were analyzed what would it tell us?   I have a fb friend who's husband is manic depressive and you can tell distinctly when he is not taking his medication by her status updates.  The scary thing – that’s just a second subset of self-reported data.   How about the 5 medical devices that are hooked to you when you are in the hospital – how about fitbit – how about (you fill in the blank) etc.  I could more than 20 areas where data resides that “could” tell us something about an individual health.   I live in the acute care space because that’s where my data resides today – but the lines are blurring which is a good thing.   To me – this is really the most consuming part of my career.  Do you devour information in a manner that let’s you apply it into other learning? 

Before my head explodes – I want to share with you my favorite comment at the HIMSS show.  I was able to meet a Kevin from North Shore LIJHC.  He comes from outside of healthcare into a fast changing world – which he likened a lot to the other industries he has been in where technology and data changed the way we do things.  As we started talking about big data – medical device data – EMR reference data - my hands were waving as I got more and more excited…… He replied with a fantastic east coast mixed with Irish accent – “Kourtney, you are trying to win the Super Bowl when today all we need is a first down.” 

Folks, don’t let big data scare you.  We each have a subset of information that we are good at – that we know and understand better than anyone else.   Today – by the next HIMSS – we need a first down.  We need to gain 10 yards.   Sustainability will be driven by our ability to work with others.

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Kourtney Govro