“Don’t Homogenize Healthcare” says a New York Times Op-Ed

Amy Krane, Marketing An editorial by cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar published in the New York Times in December presents a persuasive argument for balancing evidence-based care with human judgment so as to provide “personalized” care, not “homogenized” care. Eliminating variations in practice is an important goal but is an ongoing endeavor, given the ever-changing nature of the evidence. In “Don’t Homogenize Health Care,” Dr. Jauhar asserts that presenting the evidence can’t be the be-all end-all for medical decisions. For example, for brand new treatment methods, there is no evidence yet. For others, the evidence is outdated. “What is in vogue today is often discarded tomorrow,” Jauhar says, noting that beta blockers for non-cardiac surgical patients were routinely recommended, but are now understood to increase the risk of stroke for some patients. And patient preference is also an important input to the decision-making process, and may countermand standard practice. As American College of Cardiology President Patrick T. O’Gara noted in his defense of a reversal of a major recommendation for heart attack treatment: “Science is not static but rather constantly evolving.” “Neither the old approach, in which seemingly every patient was treated differently, nor the new one, where we try to treat them all the same, has worked well. Medicine needs another way,” Jauhar writes. In 2015, healthcare could move in a number of directions to foster personalized patient care with better clinical outcomes—including genomic research. Here at QPID Health we’ve committed to an evolving platform that can change as clinical knowledge broadens. We were pleased to hear such a compelling argument for our design principles from Dr. Jauhar.

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Diagnostic Imaging: Tools Leverage Data, Drive Quality Improvement in Radiology

Diagnostic Imaging, Dec. 1, 2014 Bridget M. Kuehn CHICAGO — New informatics tools are emerging that can help radiologists leverage patient and other medical information to more accurately interpret images, avoid medical errors, and reduce unnecessary imaging, according to speakers at RSNA 2014. Like most physicians, radiologists are facing a growing pressure to increase efficiency and quality. They are being asked to help reduce unnecessary imaging and procedures, improve the accuracy of their image interpretations, and work more effectively with their physician colleagues. A new generation of health informatics tools presented at session called “Leveraging your Data: Informatics Approaches and Solutions to Improve Imaging Care Delivery” aim to help radiologists meet these growing demands by making relevant patient information, guidelines, and medical references available to them in real time. “I expect these tools will evolve rapidly,” said Michael E. Zalis, MD, an associate professor of radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. Zalis explained that electronic medical records have made an unprecedented amount of patient information available to physicians. But these tools were largely designed to aid with billing, so they often don’t provide information in a way that is useful to clinicians. Relevant information may be lost in the sea of data, or context that is relevant to the patient’s care may be missing. “The patient’s story gets lost,” Zalis said. “We need tools to extract that.” To help physicians get the information they need out of electronic health records, Zalis and his colleagues at MGH developed a system called Queriable Patient Inference Dossier (QPID) that makes the electronic records searchable using ontologies. Physicians can use the system to search by clinical concepts or to automate certain queries. For example, Zalis said a radiologist could use the system to search a patient’s records for medical implants, and the system retrieves information about all relevant devices without having to search for each by name. Arun Krishnaraj, MD, MPH, the director of the division of body imaging at the University of Virginia Health System, tested the QPID system with fellows at his institution and found it reduced interpretation time by 20%. He explained that a normal electronic medical record may only provide the radiologist with a line describing the reason for the order. The QPID system can allow the radiologist to quickly access patient information necessary to rule out possible diagnoses and narrow down the options to the appropriate choice. For example, it allowed his team to diagnose a 39-year-old woman with a hepatic adenoma without needing a biopsy or additional imaging. Read the full article: Diagnostic Imaging, Dec. 1, 2014

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MedCity News: QPID Health and Silver Hill partner in psych care

MedCity News, Dec. 2, 2014 Dan Verel Digital health startup QPID Health recently announced that its EHR augmentation software was adopted by Silver Hill Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut that hopes to glean better insights on behavioral health patterns of an often-challenging patient population. QPID, a Boston-based startup founded in 2012, said its software will help the 129-bed hospital capture and display an “at-a-glance view of clinically relevant information.” The hospital, meanwhile, said the software will help it maximize EHR data and spot patterns for improved treatment on the psychiatric side, which has been a growing focus as the health system as a whole looks to curb hospitalizations. The collaboration will also include a behavioral health portal with the use of QPID’s Cohort App, which identifies and collects information across various groups of patients. The QPID platform will mine data to track compliance and quality metrics related to what’s known as hospital based inpatient psychiatric services, a program instituted to specifically geared toward the safety of psych patients. Read the full article: MedCity News, Dec. 2, 2014