4 best health IT innovations within the past year

New health IT was anywhere and everywhere in 2011, promising ways to streamline data and increase patient care. Now, with even more technology on the cusp of the mainstream market, it’s only natural to wonder what’s the best.

That’s why we asked Ahmed Ghouri, MD, co-founder and CMO of Anvita Health, what he believes were the most influential new technologies within the past year and what will be game changers in the years to come. “If you look at the stages of healthcare we’re going through, the first is structural, which includes CPOE, EMRs, and health information exchanges," said Ghouri. “So data management in storage, and data exchange. I think once we solve the structural problems, it will be like creating a Web browser; dramatic value is created once everyone is on the Internet. It’s not just getting online, but also doing things with the data online.”

Ghouri believes we’re making progress in the structural aspects of healthcare, and the most innovative health IT isn’t in the area of data gathering but rather data interpretation. “I would say they’re the most important things in terms of their long-term significance,” he said. “But we’re still early in their widespread adoption.” 

Check out Ghouri’s round up of the best health IT innovations within the past year: 

1. Noise reduction of patient data. Ghouri said noise reduction of patient data is the foundation for clinical decision-making and is also essential in understanding what’s real and what’s not. “Especially in mixed-mode environments,” he added. “Imagine you have patient data coming in through multiple sources. There can be different sets of medical conditions, diagnoses, etc., which can result in conflicting things. There may be things about [the patient] that may not be true today. So being able to create an active problem list of high veracity data on a patient is a significant innovation.” Ghouri also cited medication reconciliation as a problem. “And I would extend that to problem list reconciliation,” he said. “If you combine the two, we refer to that internally as a smart problem list for that patient.  Having data coming from so many sources, it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.  So, it’s essentially EMR information reconciliation.” 

2. Real time analytics. According to Ghouri, real time analytics, as opposed to batch mode analytics, allow decisions to be made immediately. “This is important because physicians and caregivers, for the most part, don’t have the time for interpretation of patient data,” he said. “They need to make a decision within minutes. So being able to analyze patient information in real time is important.” Ghouri added that a lot of the data exchange that’s occurring through the use of EMRs and CPOE may be assembled just in time, meaning there’s no existing database of a comprehensive view of the patient. “If someone wants to interpret data assembled 20 seconds ago, for example, you have to have real time analytics.” 

[See also: 2011: Gazing into the crystal ball.]