Yesterday, I had the honor of delivering a luncheon keynote address at the LifeScience Alley annual conference and exhibition in Minneapolis. Despite the major snowstorm that swept the Midwest this week, more than 1200 people showed up for this annual gathering of movers and shakes in the life sciences industries.
On my way through the Minneapolis airport, I came across the ad you see to the right. I couldn’t decide if it was brilliant marketing tied to recent events, or pure serendipity. In either case, it made me chuckle. It also aligned quite well with something I’ve been advocating for some time.
The entire nation has its eyes on Washington these days where Congress is debating the future of healthcare. No matter what you think about the debate or its likely outcome, one thing is clear. The days of practicing medicine on paper are rapidly coming to a close. Like it or not, physician practices and hospitals will need to go digital, or they will take a serious hit in how much they are paid. I’m sure some of my colleagues feel they will take a serious hit either way, and they may be right. The ROI on electronic records doesn’t come from the digital information itself, it comes from what you do with that information. In other words…… it’s what you do next.
Digital health information enables a different kind of practice. It lays the groundwork for a practice that is proactive and preventive rather than one that is reactive and only focused on disease after it occurs. It helps us achieve and measure benchmarks for best practices. It provides the data that measures quality and patient safety. It helps us reach out to our community and patients in ways previously not possible. It paves for the way for business models that are better aligned to control the spiraling cost of care while maintaining high quality. These are the rewards now being realized by some of America’s best healthcare organizations; hospitals and clinics (many of them profiled right here on HealthBlog) that have been digital for some time. Hospitals and clinics that are already using and mining their digital health data to deliver better care. Like I said, it’s not about the EMR….. it’s what you do next that counts.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft