A modern medical operating room bears little resemblance to one from 50 or a 100 years ago. Technology has worked wonders in transforming the practice of medicine. Yet the back office of the medical center or hospital admissions room is hardly modern. There are tons of paper and manual procedures that remain unintegrated with the actual medical events taking place once a visit or admission has occurred. These unconnected silos of data contribute significantly to the overall lack of transparency in prices and clinical outcomes. Even when costs are available, they are not meaningful without other parameters such as patient demographics, symptoms and related variables. Obviously a single silver bullet will not be sufficient to transform this situation. Many silver bullets will be needed. This article will look at three of them - data warehousing, electronic healthcare records (EHR) and pay-for-performance. The first is a technology, the second is an enabler of operational efficiency (among other things) and the third is a business solution. What knits the three of these together is the common theme of health analytics.
Since this discussion uses only information that is already publicly available, a scan of the Internet using Google reveals what is a matter of public record. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is building a data warehouse called Blue Health Intelligence or BHI. "BHI will play a central role in transforming the present healthcare system into a focused, knowledge-based healthcare system," said BCBSA President and CEO Scott P. Serota. "In the near term, BHI will support the efforts of employers to better manage the healthcare benefits they offer their employees. Eventually, BHI will provide consumers with the information they need to make informed healthcare decisions and will heighten collaboration with providers as they deliver high-quality, evidence-based care to their patients." 1
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