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

Podcast Preview: Kevin Schulman, MD, MBA


Kevin Schulman, MD, MBA
Duke University
Professor of Medicine and Gregory Mario and Jeremy Mario Professor of Business Administration
Director, Fuqua Health Sector Management Program
Associate Director, Duke Clinical Research Institute

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 Kevin Schulman, the Director of the Fuqua Health Sector Management Program, the event's sponsor and one if it’s featured panelist.

Welcome, Kevin.

My first question to you is: What makes informatics an issue of great concern to the health management community?

Kevin Schulman

Here at Duke, we’re trying to look at ways and solutions to the cost and quality issues that really are plaguing the healthcare system.

The question is: what approaches can we take to address these issues. What we’ve come up with is: one of the tremendously important tools is Information Technology.
What we’re focused on is trying to bring applications of Information Technology back to the healthcare system - not for Information Technology’s sake, but to address these cost and quality issues. That’s the really important piece of this - not technology, but technology to this solution that we’re trying to achieve.

Meghan Lockwood

In your opinion what are the biggest challenges, as well as the opportunities, of utilizing business intelligence in the healthcare community at large?

Kevin Schulman

Right now, we’re very focused on installing electronic health records. This (is the) concept of meaningful use that’s coming out of the federal government. But, if we actually get these systems in place, the question is: what are we going to do with them? How are we going to use this technology to address cost and quality issues?

That’s where business intelligence comes in: How do we use the information that we get out of these systems to assess what we’re doing, to create new programs, new services, to improve efficiency and bring those benefits back to the populations that we’re serving?

So, business intelligence is incredibly exciting as an opportunity to actually make something of the investment in electronic health records, and make it actionable.

Meghan Lockwood

Can you provide us with a specific example as to how Duke and its partners utilize business intelligence to best service customers in the marketplace today?

Kevin Schulman

We have several different ways in which we’re trying to use business intelligence tools to make our products and services better for our patients.

One is actually some self-management tools that we’ve built into the patient portal, with some smart decision software behind it. Another one we’re going to talk about with Jeff Ferranti, as one of our keynote speakers, is taking the information from our clinical data repository and using that to identify patients who have their lab parameters out of whack. Things like (is) their blood glucose above targeted ranges? Then, figuring out ways which we can identify and alert their physicians that this person needs an intervention.
We’re also using these kinds of concepts to go back and think about the clinical services we do provide. How do we understand the quality of those services? How do we understand variation in those services? Can we make interventions into the delivery of those services that can have meaningful improvements?

Meghan Lockwood

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

Kevin Schulman

Everybody in the health IT community is focused on implementation.

We’re excited to have this conference this year to help remind them that the purpose of all this is not implementation, but to actually craft ways in which we could use electronic health information to improve quality and reduce cost of healthcare. We’re reminding everybody that business intelligence, and the tools to use the data that we’re now going to be collecting, are really the critical steps to improving the healthcare system.

Meghan Lockwood

Great and my final question today: What makes Duke University’s Second Annual Informatics Conference appealing to you?

Kevin Schulman

The conferences we’ve run here at Duke in the Informatics base have really been exciting.

We’re bringing together both industry leaders and academics in a focused environment to try and address the questions that we’re all facing in real world day to day clinical practice and day to day business environments.

Duke University is a great space for this because we can bring together the business school, the medical school, engineering, policy, faculty all into the conversation, and really focus at a very significant level on things that are barriers, on things that are opportunities and help people network across firms to create new opportunities going forward.

Duke University is an incredibility exciting place to have this conversation and this discussion. In the health sector management program, our goal is to bring together industry, academia, (and) government as a way of establishing dialog and creating solutions. This is going to be an action oriented conference focused on applications, focused on opportunities and we’re really looking forward to a great discussion and a great agenda.

Meghan Lockwood

Thank you so much, Kevin, 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