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Duke Health Sector Management Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Health Care Age

Podcast Preview: Rick Ingraham



Rick Ingraham
Health & Life Sciences and Global Industry Solutions

Meghan Lockwood
Duke Health Sector Management MBA Program


Meghan Lockwood

Hello everyone.

The Duke Health Sector Management and Master of Management in Clinical Informatics Programs are on the cutting edge of new business intelligence and healthcare technology. Its upcoming Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Health Care Age is bringing together the best minds in business, education and information systems to discuss innovative business strategies that will move the health care market forward.

Joining us to preview the conference is Rick Ingraham, the Director of Health and Life Sciences and Global Industry Solutions at Teradata, one of the event's Scholaship Level sponsors and a featured panelist.

Welcome, Rick.

My first question for you today is what makes informatics an issue of great concern to the health management community?

Rick Ingraham

Well, Meghan, I think I would counter with a great concern, but just put it in another light.

When you look at what’s happening in the industry today, we’re talking about multiple pressure points. If it’s not questions about quality, it’s now questions about costs, it’s questions about safety, it’s questions about efficacy and efficiency of care delivery models.

All of those disciplines really require greater insight into how operations are running. How care is being delivered? The only way you can do any of that kind of analysis is to really take on a new mode of insight deployment, if you would.

So, (it is not) enough to look retrospectively, you’ve got to begin to look prospectively through modeling and forecasting.

The art or the discipline that clinical Informatics (offer) is critical for the health community today in responding to the various issues that they’re being pressured to respond to.

Meghan Lockwood

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges as well as the opportunities of utilizing business intelligence in your industry?

Rick Ingraham

Well, I would say in our industry, one of the things we got going for us is that we are, particularly in the United States and globally, we are highly dedicated to quality.

However, in the use of business intelligence capabilities, quite frankly, healthcare has been a laggard in terms of adopting. Organizations that have helped other industries improve in terms of utilizing data, applying informatics to it, doing predictive modeling into a business intelligence viewpoint, you can learn from those organizations and apply it into healthcare.

Healthcare right now is really being demanded to look at running a business differently. Where we’ve always lived in a fee-for-service world, now there’s (an) expectation to be able to live in a value-based world. And, to live in a value based world, it requires really looking and balancing not just what’s being provided, but how’s it being provided.

What are the outcomes? What’s the quality linkage to outcomes? (What's) the outcomes and quality linkage to safety? All of that is something that needs to have metrics surfaced, needs to have the ability to put that out into an organization so that managers can react to it and change their processes.

That’s truly what business intelligence capabilities can offer the healthcare industry.

Add to it the fact more and more pressure to look at new deliveries of care. Making more organizations accountable for those care practices and protocols also requires a business intelligence capability, so that you can react to what’s happening, and to begin to look forward. In terms of, if you make changes in certain kinds of treatment, what can be expected from either a cost-outcomes metric, or an efficacy and efficiency metric.

Meghan Lockwood

Great. Can you provide us with a specific example as to how Teradata uses business intelligence to serve your customers in the marketplace today?

Rick Ingraham

That’s a great question.

Because I represent the vendor community, let me flip that question around, and I can talk about the things that vendors in the business intelligence community are really enabling payers and providers to accomplish.

First of all, let me preface by saying that it takes a visionary leader to want to change the culture of an organization. Whether you’re in the payer community or the provider community, you’ve got to have the vision that it’s necessary to do things differently.

Where Teradata really has excelled is by providing a platform that can house huge amounts of data. (For) the medical community is not just large amounts of data, it’s critical data.

A lot of the things that Teradata is doing along with analytic capabilities for the platform are helping organizations really begin to move into a new way of interrelating with the other members of the healthcare ecosystem.

For example, a large major national insurer is enabling emergency rooms to be able to log on, immediately go in, get information about a patient that’s presenting themself in an emergency situation and get information about gaps in care. Has that patient had a prescription that hasn’t been refilled recently? That’s going to be particularly critical when the patient is unable to communicate and there’s no family member present.

Another example is providing an information system that allows you to pull all information about providers, members, claims, protocols of care, evidence based medicine, regional patterns of care, (and) putting it into a platform where high end analytics can be applied to best understand which providers are providing the best possible care. (You see) the best quality with the best outcomes, with the appropriate costs linked into that.

We’re also seeing more and more of our provider community really, really pushing the envelope of how they are measuring themselves. How are they performing against the data they’re getting through electronic medical record?

Certainly, the financial incentives for meaningful use are hitting a hotspot for Teradata because we provide the platform that can merge both electronic medical record data with other data sources.

An organization cannot just meet the minimum required standards of phase one and phase two meaningful use reporting, but really become a leading edge medical community. (They can) begin looking forward into the next stages of how can they better quantify their processes for quality and match that with the appropriate care protocols.

Meghan Lockwood

Fantastic. What one key message are you most looking forward to sharing with those scheduled to attend the Informatics conference at Duke on April 27th?

Rick Ingraham

Well, you know, Meghan, it’s funny. I so look forward to these kinds of venues.

One of the things that I think is a misnomer is "it’s great that we can pull together a body of experts.” The reality is, I don’t know that there is any one expert in the field of healthcare.

There is a great blend of great disciplines that are coming together at Duke on the 27th. If I would have one message right now it would be yes, keep your eye on the vision, but focus on incremental value.

One of the things that clinical informatics excels at is incremental step value - uncovering new pieces of information that can be applied into a practice, or applied into a plan community where improvements can be made in either cost, quality or outcomes. While it would be ideal to have the full blown business intelligence platform up and running on day one, the realities are: if you focus on the entire vision and try to execute that upfront, the various stakeholders in an organization are liable to become disenfranchised.

If you want to get your practicing physicians in a hospital network fully engaged, you want to begin to surface information about how they’re performing against their colleagues for similar procedures. If a plan is really looking at creating good solid methods or benchmarks of engaging members or patients, you want to begin with small steps on how you’re getting a member to react to information you’re sharing.

Clinical informatics can be focused not only on the big picture, but those incremental steps. It continues to demonstrate value while the full platform is being developed.

In summary, let’s focus on that incremental value to keep people engaged, get the creative thought juices flowing. That, ultimately, will result in a better community of learning.

Meghan Lockwood

What makes Duke University Second Annual Informatics Conference appealing to you?

Rick Ingraham

If I put it in one word, I would say collaboration. But I don’t want to sound too vanilla when I say collaboration.

I think what intrigues me about what’s going to happen on the 27th of April is not just the fact that we’re going to be talking about clinical informatics (but also) the leading edge place it has in healthcare and in the healthcare industry.

When you really think about collaboration, I think most people think of a definition that is around working together, especially in some kind of joint intellectual effort.

There’s a second definition about collaboration, I think, that bears being reminded of. It is also defined as: to cooperate treasonably as with an enemy occupying one’s country.

That may sound harsh when we’re talking about something like the Informatics Conference, but when you bring together a body of professionals that represent both plans and providers and governmental regulatory bodies, those three interested parties in the healthcare ecosystem have had trouble from time to time in collaborating. What I like about this conference is each one of those members of the ecosystem has genuine concerns to improve quality and cost through informatics, and so I think it’s going to be a major step in pulling together some of the parties that heretofore have not cooperated together, and getting them to talk along the same lines.

Meghan Lockwood

Thank you so much, Rick, for that insight.

This concludes our podcast preview of the Duke Health Sector Management / Master of Management in Clinical Informatics Program's conference. To register or learn more, please visit us online at www.dukehsmevents.com.

Thank you for listening, and we hope to see you on April 27th on the Duke Campus at the Second Annual Informatics Conference: Business Intelligence in the Health Care Age, "The Meaningful Use of Meaningful Use Data".

Upcoming conferences

For more information, please contact:

Ana Quinn
Associate Director, Business Development
Health Sector Management
Master of Management in Clinical Informatics (MMCi)
Phone: 919-660-7900