The most overrated trend in healthcare? 'Big data,' says Mayo Clinic's Dr. Vitaly Herasevich

In this special Speaker Series, Becker's Healthcare caught up with Vitaly Herasevich, MD, PhD, associate professor of anesthesiology medicine at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Herasevich will speak during the Becker's Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference on the "Limitations of Data Mining in Healthcare," at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19. Learn more about the event and register to attend in Chicago.

Question: Can you share your best advice for motivating your teams?

Dr. Vitaly Herasevich: As we worked with our IT colleagues, we found the one good motivator is showing them the purpose of their work. Show how it affects real lives. We bring them to the ICU to show how the software works and what type of problems we are going to solve.

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

VH: It may be a surprise, but the most exciting part in health IT is "wiring" hospitals. Over the past decade, healthcare has gone from a 10 percent EMR adoption rate to nearly 100 percent. If there is no core EMR, there is little for health IT to do. The most overrated trend is "big data." Two principles are usually ignored. The first is that association is not causation. What works in retail and other industries using "big data" is not working in medicine. Second is the idea of "pre-test probability." Data exists in EMR because clinicians suspect something and order tests and labs. Predictions on top of existing suspicions do not produce breakthrough results.

Q: What's the best thing you've read lately? 

VH: Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner. The gaming addiction is now recognized by the World Health Organization as a disease. The world is evolving and as future generation use computers, it is our mission as parents to be involved in their technology use.

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