Rock Boston: Insights from the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

By Nick Martinez

Dr. John Halamka visited Rock Boston for our seventh Rock Session. Dr. Halamka, MD, MS, is Chief Information Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Chairman of the New England Healthcare Exchange Network (NEHEN), Co-Chair of the HIT Standards Committee, a Professor at Harvard Medical School, and a practicing Emergency Physician. Because of his role, he was able to offer several key insights into the environment for health start-ups.            

  • With the shift towards ACOs and risk-based models, hospitals need to learn how to become great at wellness and do that in the context of family and patient engagement.
  • Making sense out of seven petabytes of data covering seven million patient records is a huge problem—data is great, but it needs to be turned into functional decision support.
  • Transitions of care provide a key opportunity for improvement. There are no rules or standards for the exchange of data between providers to ensure the process is right for patients and caregivers.
  • Measuring the quality of care is currently challenging and inefficient and requires paper chart abstraction to collect a multitude of numerators and denominators that end up measuring process compliance instead of actual quality.
  • New healthcare regulations and guidance are emerging regularly and this is an area where CFOs spend freely, without questioning return or strategic value—hospitals will buy anything that helps them be compliant.
  • Security is an ongoing battle. We need to find novel ways to secure and exchange data contextually based on patient preferences.