Big data analytics in healthcare is an exciting topic that is often talked about in the future tense. As in, someday big data will be capable of predicting future ailments based on genomics. Or, someday big data will be capable of optimizing care pathways for a given disease state. Well, the future is now for the big data application called the Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC) from GE Healthcare. As of September 1st, MQIC eclipsed a major milestone by having more than 30 million patient records from 560 ambulatory EMR customers utilizing Centricity Practice Solution or Centricity EMR. With a combined total of 1.6 billion documents, MQIC contains a deep and wide cross section of U.S. health information available today for its members. What started in 2001 as an effort to collect and share de-identified clinical information with external research efforts has bloomed into a compelling and differentiated clinical informatics platform for member organizations.
MQIC is one of a new class of applications cropping up around Healthcare Intelligence (HI). Where business intelligence commonly refers to financial and operational trending and analysis, “Healthcare Intelligence” is a mix of business intelligence and clinical informatics, where clinical informatics is used to measure and optimize processes around clinical care by providers and researchers. MQIC is a clinical informatics tool used to measure clinical quality performance and provides a means to benchmark performance within a practice and across the national database of participating members. Members are able to use system generated reports to aid in members’ attestation for Meaningful Use stage one in addition to submission services for incentive programs including PQRS and eRx, and the Bridges to Excellence quality recognition program.
As the saying goes, one should never put the cart before the horse. In the case of many things being labeled “big data” in healthcare IT today, much of the emphasis is on the technology or tool development rather than on the population served. Having a very large and relevant population to adequately benchmark a population of patients or providers for clinical quality care is critical and yet rare to find. Luckily for ambulatory EMR customers of GE Healthcare, the time for big data analytics has already arrived. Indeed, MQIC helps its members prove the quality of care they are delivering today.
The future of healthcare intelligence seems to be topic #1 for the industry at large. The emergence of solutions in the space presents a great opportunity for practices to identify the right solution partner with which to hitch up their cart for the long and winding journey ahead.
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