The Healing Edge: Where Innovation Meets Information Technology

Northwestern Medicine
News February 04, 2013
Lyle Berkowitz, MD, is an active primary care doctor and the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Innovation for Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Medical Director of Information Technology & Innovation for Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group (NMPG) in Chicago. He is the author of a recently published book called “Innovation with Information Technologies in Healthcare.”

Lyle Berkowitz, MD, a primary care doctor and authorAs the associate chief medical officer of innovation for Northwestern, it is my mission to use creative thinking and diverse technologies to help produce a better healthcare experience for patients, physicians and others associated with their care. Technology has changed the way we do almost everything, from how we communicate to how we enjoy music –and it is affecting  health care as well.  From the evolution of searching the internet for patient education to the use of electronic medical records (EMRs) in exam rooms to using mobile and telehealth systems for communicating with patients and other doctors, technology is making it easier for physicians to provide the best care possible and empowering patients to be in control of their health.

During the course of writing my recent book, I was able to research more than 20 organizations that have been innovative in their use of health IT to improve the quality and efficiency of the care they deliver. Each organization crafted the story of their innovation to inspire and educate others, taking users from the initial inspiration to the eventual spread, revealing lessons learned along the way.  The first section describes new ways to use EMRs, from supporting care coordination and disease management to more easily detecting adverse events and devising ways to prevent them in the first place.  The second section highlights how telehealth can help communication between many constituents, including doctors, nurses, patients, pharmacist and even translators. The final section delves into the use of advanced technologies, from analytics to mobile devices to walls that talk! 

The intersection of information technology and innovative thinking in healthcare means we will see some amazing things in the years to come… solutions which strive to improve both the quality of care and the experience of care we deliver.  Physicians and patients will be able to instantly access complete medical records and communicate with each other from any device they own, while increasingly smart computer programs help manage routine care and predict which patients need help before they really need it so the doctor can spend more time with those who need it most.  The result will be that everyone will get the right care, at the right time and in the right place!   

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