Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston is one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the country. With over 600 beds, several satellite centers, an HMO and numerous specialized primary care centers, one can only think of a large amount of health informatics research data which needs to be organized and interpreted.
Kathy Carberry, R.N., the director of outcomes and impact service at the hospital, leads a multidisciplinary team composed of a competent group of health informatics expert and health professionals like clinicians, surgeons together with outcome nurses and professionals from the IT industry such as computer programmers and data specialists.
The data may not be able to eliminate or cure the diseases or treat the condition but it certainly can provide assistance to health providers. These health informatics research data can be used in predicting outcomes of surgeries or whether side effects or post-operative complications were experienced by the patient.
Data from the hospital were stored in a data warehouse. The information gathered were utilized by an application which is able to analyze the data and give out the processed reports. The comprehensive details acquired from the application include those that are from different populations and locations.
Carberry emphasizes that data visibility entails power. With the increased transparency and real-time data availability, this new technology initiated a positive change in culture which health professionals readily accepted. The challenge, however, is keeping the data up-to-date and accurate as to be able to pass the critical eyes of healthcare professionals. “Physicians will immediately find the data that’s not right. Their eyes will gravitate towards it,” Carberry says. This dilemma is solved by the hospital’s intermediaries which effectively bridges the gap between the IT professionals and the healthcare practitioners.
Texas children’s hospital hopes to use the increasing amount of data to produce technological innovations and future health informatics research which would help assess the post-surgical risks of patients. Carberry points out that data gathering and management will be the most important aspect of attaining the hospital’s long-term objectives.