The driving forces behind data exchange & analytics: Elsevier CIO Dr. Richard Loomis shares insights

Richard Loomis, MD, CIO at global information analytics and clinical decision support company Elsevier in Amsterdam, discusses the health IT trends he considers to be most exciting as well as where he feels healthcare needs to innovate. 

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: Where do you see the biggest need for innovation to improve clinical informatics in healthcare systems in the future?

Dr. Richard Loomis: The healthcare analytics market has exploded over the past few years —and continues to grow exponentially — but the way these solutions are applied for optimal clinical insight can be improved. The focus should be on identifying and addressing unwarranted clinical and operational variation to optimize care delivery, streamline best practices and improve patient outcomes. One aspect of this is measuring the impact of clinical decision support tools, dashboards, reporting, training, etc., to iteratively refine solutions and maximize impact.

Another area which presents significant opportunity is real world evidence. Using a spectrum of patient data, from EHRs to mobile health apps, health IT infrastructure will be increasingly leveraged to facilitate clinical research — from study design to trial recruiting — synchronous with care delivery.

Q: What is the most exciting thing happening in health IT right now? And what is the most overrated health IT trend?

RL: The most exciting development is the ability to unlock data that has historically been unavailable or siloed. With the healthcare IT infrastructure established over the past decade, interoperability is finally reaching an inflection point. A constellation of forces is aligning to drive exponential growth in data exchange and analytics. These forces include key legislation and regulation, such as the 21st Century Cures Act data blocking rule, technology standards, value-based payment models and robust patient demand.

While artificial intelligence presents tremendous potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery, we must focus on pragmatic use cases that have achievable near-term impact.

Q: Can you share your best advice for health system CIOs to help motivate their teams?

RL: The mission of improving patient's lives presents a unique opportunity to motivate and engage our teams. So, we need to continuously reinforce and showcase the positive impact of their work. Healthcare enables technologists to meaningfully shape the care delivery experience for those across the continuum. The tools and solutions they develop impact workflow, insight, engagement, cost, access and much more to ultimately benefit patients.

Q: What do you see as the most vulnerable part of a hospital's business?

RL: In 2018, we witnessed dramatic shifts in healthcare across the board, from unconventional mergers and acquisitions to the FDA's fast tracking of digital health innovations to the entrance of nontraditional competitors envisioning a new care model. The ongoing vulnerability for hospitals is a rapidly changing environment that is increasingly focused on value across the care continuum.

To learn more about clinical informatics and health IT, register for the Becker's Hospital Review 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership Conference May 2-4, 2019 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

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