I recently presented on the topic of Disruptive Innovation. Like many things in life, the speaking opportunity happened by accident. I was asked to fill-in for Netsmart Chief Operating Officer Tom Herzog who had a previous commitment. Since Tom is an inspiring speaker, especially on this topic, I was a little intimidated. After looking at his slides, I realized he and I came at Disruptive Innovation from different perspectives. Tom’s take was very technology-oriented and mine more clinical.
After delivering a fascinating view on the potential applications of big data and analytics in healthcare at the 2013 Knowledge Network event, Jeff Hammerbacher, who was responsible for conceiving, building and leading the data team at Facebook, and is now leading a team partnered with Mt. Sinai School of Medicine on a project designed to apply the power of Big Data to predicting and understanding the process and treatment of disease, was asked a simple question: What do you think is the biggest opportunity to apply big data in healthcare right now? His reply: Understanding what is currently happening across the healthcare ecosystem would be a good place to start. For a pioneering disruptive thinker like Mr. Hammerbacher to offer such a simple actionable item as his first thought, tells you we have much work to do to harness the opportunity in front of us to make better use of data.
Theme: Disruptive Technology
Big Data is currently one of the most covered topics in technology today. However, in order to gain perspective on why it dominates discussions of modern IT, science, and business, it actually turns out that we can examine the innovation that opened research to aspects of our world that are not so big.
Erik Brynjolfsonn, MIT Sloan Professor and director of the MIT Center for Digital Business, views Big Data not as a fad but as a “measurement revolution” that is in the process of completely redefining executive leadership and decision making. To understand its impact on our world, he claims, we can look to the 15th century invention of the microscope.
Anton van Leeuwenhoek invented the device and kept technical letters detailing the life forms that he discovered. However, we must keep in mind how truly radical the idea of microorganisms were in such an age. It took time for the scientific establishment of the time to come to terms with the existence of life forms that were too small for the eye to see. However, the ability to view objects at this level eventually became crucial to nearly all of the scientific innovations of the last few hundred years, from medical breakthroughs to microprocessors.
Big Data, of course, operates on the macro-scale. However, it currently gives us the ability to find patterns within the complex workings of our world, too large for us to see, with a level of detail analogous to the microscope. For example, Big Data techniques have been used with demographic data to allocate medical resources for underserved populations that are at-risk for heart ailments.
Like the microscope during its early days, there is a certain incredulity given to the promises of big data. However, the insights that have already been discovered through this field, which is in relative infancy, point to a revolution as great as the one that allowed us to study the smallest of life forms.
Our CarePathways solutions are designed to go beyond the hype of big data, rather providing realization of how benchmarking, analytics and productive modeling can be used beyond just digitizing care. While we’ve introduced solutions over the past year, much more is before as we collective work together to shape a new model of care and most important the continued evolution of how care is provided. At our recent westExchange I had the opportunity to speak with many of our clients as they shared their dreams, connecting them to the realities and possibilities of today. I continue to believe we find ourselves in one of the most exciting times in health care as we build tomorrows solutions today.