Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center named No. 1 technology innovator by InformationWeek

InformationWeek has named Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center No. 1 on its list of 500 technology innovators this year. The list was released Tuesday at a conference in California.

“Beth Israel Deaconess has gotten into the habit of being No. 1,” Rob Preston, editor in chief of InformationWeek, said in a hospital press release. “It was the first medical center to go live with iPads for clinical use, the first with a Web-based medical record system, the first to attest to ‘Meaningful Use’ via the national HIT stimulus program.”

The hospital developed Clinical Query, a “clinical research business intelligence system,” Preston said. The system allows researchers to run queries about disease and treatment using information from 2.2 million patients served since 1997.

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Paul Cerrato of InformationWeek described the system this way:

So, with the help of Clinical Query, a clinician or researcher might search the records to find out how many patients with breast cancer also take ACE inhibitors, a class of drug used to treat high blood pressure. If the results reveal a strong correlation between the drug and the malignancy, the hospital could do a deeper analysis and set up a formal research project to investigate the link. The ultimate goal is to discover a new medical intervention that would improve the survival of the entire population of breast cancer patients.

Not only would Clinical Query do the legwork to detect a link between breast cancer and ACE inhibitors, but it would also take a research hypothesis to the next stage, what [Chief Information Officer Dr. John] Halamka calls the “drink” stage after the initial “sip” of data.

“Suppose I actually want to take the data on the 66,000 patients I just identified in my search and enroll them in a clinical trial,” Halamka explains. “Once the institutional review board gives approval for that, we can take this query and automatically write letters to the primary care physicians to enroll these patients in the trial.” It’s a huge time saver.

Eight years ago, Halamka was working to get more hospitals on electronic records. Now, he is at the center of efforts in the state to connect those records from doctor’s office to hospital to nursing home, and across hospital systems. He’s also a farming documentarian.