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Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare
A view on how analytics and social media is used for shaping the healthcare industry
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IBM Open-Sources Potential "Internet of Things" Protocol

IBM Open-Sources Potential "Internet of Things" Protocol | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |

The openly stated goal from IBM is to produce a completely new world-wide web, one comprised of the messages that digitally empowered devices would send to one another. It is the same Internet, but not the same Web. This morning in Ludwigsburg, Germany, IBM announced it is joining with Italy-based hardware architecture firm Eurotech in donating a complete draft protocol for asynchronous inter-device communication to the Eclipse Foundation. It would be the current data explosion, times itself. A projected 24 billion simultaneous devices by the year 2020, including RFID tags on shipping crates, heart rate monitors, GPS devices, smartphone firmware, automobile maintenance systems, and yes, not a joke, earrings may become more socially active than any teenage human being presently alive. Tens of billions of devices, billions of messages per hour. It is being called Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol, the machine-to-machine counterpart of HTTP. This afternoon, ReadWriteWeb was granted exclusive access to the draft proposal, which is being officially received by the Eclipse Foundation later this morning.

"While smart objects and physical world systems are often integrated with Enterprise and Web middleware today, it is often done using proprietary integration models and combinations of a prolific number of custom protocols and industry standards," the final IBM draft proposal reads. "In most established M2M [machine-to-machine] implementations of connected devices, the data producers and data consumers are programmed to interact in strict and well defined ways. For example, in a smart city, sensor-based systems can alert operators of a broken water main and report the extent of flooding in streets and subways. Well-designed open messaging technology would enable solutions well beyond this, allowing public and private transit systems for example, to monitor these critical alerts, adjusting their routes and even notifying commuters and customers of alternative routes, transportation, lodging and meals. Social networks could subscribe, allowing residents and commuters to interact, adapt and even provide feedback and status to the city." Public transit systems could enable the streets themselves to publish their own traffic status. Traffic signals could become intercommunicative, enabling live and automated rerouting of traffic, including signals that are sent to cars and their drivers. Water, gas, and electric lines can report their own status the same way. And through inter-Web protocols, you could check the status of your local water main on Facebook.

While we're on that subject: Imagine if Facebook could find you. Literally, you would never have to log in. An application is foreseeable whereby messaging devices connect to a token device located on your person. When you move from your laptop PC to your tablet to your refrigerator, your Facebook session could follow you.

Although the following potential application was not directly stated, it was implied: Consider the potential for intercommunicative monetary tokens. What if every fiver or twenty or century note could report its location and status?

Further into IBM's draft proposal, the company's engineers make clear their current position on current HTTP-based Web services protocols in what they call an M2M context. They're inadequate, and need adaptation.

"Open source messaging components... will have to work equally well across the constrained networks and embedded platforms that are inherent to physical world of machine-to-machine systems," the latest draft reads. "This will enable a paradigm shift from legacy point-to-point protocols and the limitations of protocols like SOAP or HTTP into more loosely coupled yet determinable models. It will bridge the SOA, REST, Pub/Sub and other middleware architectures already well understood by Web 2.0 and Enterprise IT shops today, with the embedded and wireless device architectures inherent to M2M."

The "pub/sub" model alluded to here is documented in fuller detail at

Although IBM is touting its continued commitment to open standards, it's also clear that there's payback for IBM in the form of a headstart for middleware support. As this page reveals, amid the existing open source MQTT servers available for experimentation today are servers for message queuing telemetry are based around WebSphere, and messaging brokers are based around Lotus Expeditor.

A great many breakthrough proposals for Internet technologies never actually bore fruit. The Web we could be using now, is tremendously more capable than the one you have in front of you. MQTT is far from being confirmed as the web of future stuff. But today's formal proposal is one of the critical steps that future visions take toward becoming realities.

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5 healthcare social media tips that break the mold for pharma, med tech

5 healthcare social media tips that break the mold for pharma, med tech | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |

Tip 1. Look at how social media fits into your customers’ lifestyle.

The majority of people use laptops and tablets at home – frequently in front of a television. People see something on television and then Google it, or they will tweet in response to something they read online or TV.

“There is a role for advertising to trigger a certain kind of behavior,” Von Plato says. “People are doing it naturally, but there is an opportunity for advertising to become much more cognizant.”

Tip 2. Don’t go overboard with apps.

Don’t pick apps just because they’re popular – do some research and see what your customers use. Do not get intimidated by new technology, but use it sensibly.


Tip 3. Create a support network.

Build something that helps customers but doesn’t explicitly mention drugs. Von Plato said it recently launched a Facebook page for the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB around epilepsy called Epilepsy Advocate.

The market for orphan drug manufacturers is particularly well suited. Providing a forum for a relatively small group of people can enable them to connect worldwide. There is a great deal of social networking, exchanging information between certain communities of people.

“In general the No. 1 thing marketers who are successful share is recognizing that this is not about technology; it is about people and how they are operating in the healthcare system – their habits and media diet. Digital is the center of the bulls eye for healthcare,” Von Plato said.

AstraZeneca’s(NYSE:AZN) “Leading Ladies Perspectives” past campaign did not focus on its drug Arimidex, but rather on user-generated video content from women who had been treated for breast cancer sharing their perspectives on battling the disease, Von Plato said. The content was screened to meet regulatory and legal issues.

“Women spoke in their own words, and shared their feelings and perspectives on how they are moving their lives forward.”

In addition to Von Plato’s suggestions, here are some other ways companies are using social media.


Tip 4. Using YouTube to share personal experiences.

Diabetes is a significant community as well, particularly as there are so many medical device and pharmaceutical companies in this space. Roche AccuCheck medical device videos on You Tube use personal accounts of how individual cope and adapt their lifestyle to their disease using its device. It serves as a platform for users to share experiences using their diabetes device AccuCheck.


Tip 5. Be an advocate for your industry.

Abbott (NYSE:ABT), has sponsored a Facebook page “Labs Are Vital” to support laboratory scientists and promote their importance to the public and healthcare industry. So it can be viewed by members of the public interested in career options, familiarizing people with laboratory professionals and what they do.

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Marketing as Ecosystem (Not a Funnel) [Infographic] | MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog

Marketing as Ecosystem (Not a Funnel) [Infographic] | MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |

MarketingProfs chief content officer Ann Handley discusses Volinsky Consulting's infographic describing the interconnectedness of content, search, and social as an Inbound Marketing Ecosystem.I love the word “ecosystem” when it refers to attracting and nurturing new customers via content, search, and social media—because it nicely conjures up the kind of balanced approach required to do it well. It also dramatizes how this approach is not a funnel, but rather, a circle.

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IBM 5 in 5- Forecast of innovations that will alter the tech landscape in 5 years

IBM 5 in 5- Forecast of innovations that will alter the tech landscape in 5 years | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |


Every year IBM predicts the future of technology via the IBM 5 in 5 initiative–our forecast of five innovations that will help transform aspects of modern life, making the planet smarter, within the next five years. We assess not just the availability of a new technology but also the likelihood of its large-scale adoption.


This year’s predictions:

· People power will come to life
· You will never need a password again
· Mind reading is no longer science fiction
· The digital divide will cease to exist
· Junk mail will become priority mail


Watch Video

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HealthCare Partners, IPA, Implements MedAssurant's Innovative, Data-Driven Solutions | NEWS.GNOM.ES

BOWIE, Md., Dec. 15, 2011 /NEWS.GNOM.ES/ – MedAssurant, Inc., a leading provider of data-driven healthcare solutions, today announced that HealthCare Partners, IPA (HCPIPA), one of the largest physician-owned independent physician associations (IPA) in the Northeast, has selected MedAssurant’s Prospective Advantage® and Capitated Risk Adjustment (CARA™) solutions to proactively identify gaps in care and quality to improve clinical documentation, utilization and risk score accuracy for their Medicare Advantage members.

MedAssurant’s Prospective Advantage combines advanced healthcare data analytics with coordinated patient and provider encounter facilitation and support to deliver an integrated solution for identifying and proactively closing gaps in quality, care, assessment and documentation. Analytics bring meaningful intelligence to all forms of outreach and intervention – from print materials and call center outreach, to web-enabled decision support platforms and wireless tablets for in-home member assessment optimization. Altogether, the highly data-driven approach achieves the “right intervention for the right member, in the right venue, at the right time,” facilitating the realization of highly efficient impact.

CARA is a retrospective risk adjustment solution providing a clinically-driven approach to the efficient identification, determination and substantiation of disease and comorbid condition data. Advanced analytics leverage insight gained from extensive clinical datasets of more than 5.2 billion medical events to identify potential gaps in disease and comorbidity data accuracy. A highly integrated platform designed to coordinate both EMR and paper-based medical record data aggregation thereafter facilitates a highly efficient process of “filling in the gaps” through the targeted abstraction of both discrete and non-discrete clinical data. This process results in a more thorough understanding of each member and a more comprehensive risk score value to ensure significant improvement in healthcare data, quality insight and risk score accuracy.

“HealthCare Partners, IPA, remains committed to innovation in healthcare and its ability to improve care for our members,” said Paul Alfaro, Executive Vice President of HCPIPA. “MedAssurant’s Prospective Advantage and CARA will help us continue to better coordinate and manage the healthcare services provided to our members. We are excited to be entering this new partnership.”

Keith Dunleavy, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MedAssurant, said, “For some time now, the pressures being placed upon the healthcare community have been increasingly extending into provider organizations. Leveraging data analytics to bring advanced insight and support goals in quality, care and risk score accuracy provides a valuable edge in what is a complex landscape. HealthCare Partners, IPA, is known for their mission to be the Strongest Link to Quality Care for their members and network physicians, and we are honored to have this opportunity to work together with them.”
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The Internet Gets Physical

The Internet Gets Physical | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
THE Internet likes you, really likes you. It offers you so much, just a mouse click or finger tap away. Go Christmas shopping, find restaurants, locate partying friends, tell the world what you’re up to. Some of the finest minds in computer science, working at start-ups and big companies, are obsessed with tracking your online habits to offer targeted ads and coupons, just for you. But now — nothing personal, mind you — the Internet is growing up and lifting its gaze to the wider world. To be sure, the economy of Internet self-gratification is thriving. Web start-ups for the consumer market still sprout at a torrid pace. And young corporate stars seeking to cash in for billions by selling shares to the public are consumer services — the online game company Zynga last week, and the social network giant Facebook, whose stock offering is scheduled for next year.

As this is happening, though, the protean Internet technologies of computing and communications are rapidly spreading beyond the lucrative consumer bailiwick. Low-cost sensors, clever software and advancing computer firepower are opening the door to new uses in energy conservation, transportation, health care and food distribution. The consumer Internet can be seen as the warm-up act for these technologies.

The concept has been around for years, sometimes called the Internet of Things or the Industrial Internet. Yet it takes time for the economics and engineering to catch up with the predictions. And that moment is upon us.

“We’re going to put the digital ‘smarts’ into everything,” said Edward D. Lazowska, a computer scientist at the University of Washington. These abundant smart devices, Dr. Lazowska added, will “interact intelligently with people and with the physical world.”

The role of sensors — once costly and clunky, now inexpensive and tiny — was described this month in an essay in The New York Times by Larry Smarr, founding director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology; he said the ultimate goal was “the sensor-aware planetary computer.”

That may sound like blue-sky futurism, but evidence shows that the vision is beginning to be realized on the ground, in recent investments, products and services, coming from large industrial and technology corporations and some ambitious start-ups.

One of the hot new ventures in Silicon Valley is Nest Labs, founded by Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive, which has hired more than 100 engineers from Apple, Google, Microsoft and other high-tech companies.

Its product, introduced in late October, is a digital thermostat, combining sensors, machine learning and Web technology. It senses not just air temperature, but the movements of people in a house, their comings and goings, and adjusts room temperatures accordingly to save energy.

At the Nest offices in Palo Alto, Calif., there is a lot of talk of helping the planet, as well as the thrill of creating cool technology. Yoky Matsuoka, a former Google computer scientist and winner of a MacArthur “genius” grant, said, “This is the next wave for me.”

Matt Rogers, 28, a Nest co-founder, led a team of engineers at Apple that wrote software for iPods. He loved his job and working for Apple, he said. But he added: “In essence, we were building toys. I wanted to build a product that could really make a huge impact on a big problem.”

Across many industries, products and practices are being transformed by communicating sensors and computing intelligence. The smart industrial gear includes jet engines, bridges and oil rigs that alert their human minders when they need repairs, before equipment failures occur. Computers track sensor data on operating performance of a jet engine, or slight structural changes in an oil rig, looking for telltale patterns that signal coming trouble.SENSORS on fruit and vegetable cartons can track location and sniff the produce, warning in advance of spoilage, so shipments can be rerouted or rescheduled. Computers pull GPS data from railway locomotives, taking into account the weight and length of trains, the terrain and turns, to reduce unnecessary braking and curb fuel consumption by up to 10 percent.

Researchers at General Electric, the nation’s largest industrial company, are working on such applications and others. One is a smart hospital room, equipped with three small cameras, mounted inconspicuously on the ceiling. With software for analysis, the room can monitor movements by doctors and nurses in and out of the room, alerting them if they have forgotten to wash their hands before and after touching patients — lapses that contribute significantly to hospital-acquired infections. Computer vision software can analyze facial expressions for signs of severe pain, the onset of delirium or other hints of distress, and send an electronic alert to a nearby nurse.

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Frost & Sullivan Recognizes QlikView Business Discovery Platform for Technology Innovation in Healthcare

RADNOR, Pa., Dec 14, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- QlikTech, /quotes/zigman/117690/quotes/nls/qlik QLIK -3.85% a leader in Business Discovery -- user-driven Business Intelligence (BI), today announced that Frost & Sullivan recognized the QlikView Business Discovery platform with the 2011 North American Technology Innovation Award in Health Data Analytics. Selection is based on several criteria such as innovative element of the product, value-added features and benefits, and increased customer return on investment (ROI).

This latest acknowledgment builds on the recent announcement of QlikView's overall performance score of 91 out of 100(1) in the August Business Intelligence report(2) from KLAS, a healthcare-focused research firm. This momentum in the healthcare industry underscores QlikView's ability to enable healthcare companies worldwide to transform mountains of data into actionable, real-time intelligence -- a critical step in managing rising costs, addressing ever-changing regulatory requirements, and improving patient satisfaction. Through QlikView's powerful information analysis, hundreds of healthcare providers such as Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), Children's Hospital of Atlanta (CHOA), Sibley Heart Center Cardiology, and ThedaCare now have an integrated view of information to improve healthcare delivery.

Today, public and private healthcare providers struggle with operational visibility into information spread across their numerous clinical, financial, and resource planning systems. This inability to efficiently access, aggregate and explore data substantially contributes to mounting financial strains, patient wait times, resource constraints, and vulnerability to medical errors. QlikView brings unprecedented simplicity, flexibility, and scalability to such healthcare information challenges.

"Hospitals are focusing on deploying several types of new information systems in order to qualify for incentives and subsidies offered by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as well as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). As hospitals focus their efforts on meeting these criteria, their demand for additional IT software, including data analytics applications, will grow considerably," said Nancy Fabozzi, Senior Industry Analyst, at Frost & Sullivan. "QlikTech combines innovation with simplicity, thereby giving it an edge over rival data analytics vendors. We firmly believe that it can help the growing number of hospitals that are extending the implementation and utilization of analytics in order to improve quality of care, drive operational efficiencies, and help mitigate costly complications."

"Healthcare providers are facing turbulent market dynamics: increasing demands of aging populations, more accountability for patient quality and safety, shifts in insurance coverage, and increasing regulatory pressure to show meaningful use of technology to drive improvements in patient outcomes. Timely, error-free information is critical to overcome these challenges," said Ellen Derrico, Director Global Market Development, Life Sciences & Healthcare at QlikTech. "QlikView's differentiation is its ability to deliver the simplicity users need to interact with data, and generate new insights which lead to improved healthcare delivery, and ultimately, improved patient outcomes. Receiving this recognition from Frost & Sullivan is a testament to the more than 500 healthcare providers globally that have turned to QlikView to overcome their information challenges."

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards, including the 2011 North American Technology Innovation Award, recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets. Industry analysts measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.

About QlikTech

QlikTech /quotes/zigman/117690/quotes/nls/qlik QLIK -3.85% is a leader in Business Discovery -- user-driven Business Intelligence (BI). QlikTech's powerful, accessible Business Discovery solution bridges the gap between traditional business intelligence solutions and standalone office productivity applications. Its QlikView Business Discovery platform enables intuitive user-driven analysis that can be implemented in days or weeks rather than months, years, or not at all. The in-memory associative search technology it pioneered allows users to explore information freely rather than being confined to a predefined path of questions. QlikView Business Discovery works with existing BI applications and adds new capabilities: insight for everyone, zero-wait analysis, mobility, an app--like model, remixability and reassembly, and a social and collaborative experience. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, QlikTech has offices around the world serving more approximately 22,000 customers in over 100 countries.

QlikTech and QlikView are trademarks or registered trademarks of QlikTech or its subsidiaries in the U.S. and other countries. Other company names, product names and company logos mentioned herein are the trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

(1) Because KLAS defines QlikView as an "early-data solution" in the healthcare industry, it did not meet the minimum KLASKonfidence levels to be ranked in this report. KLAS does not use the term Konfidence to apply to KLAS' trust or reliance in the vendor's product. A KLASKonfidence level defines the range in the number of organizations that have evaluated a given vendor, product, or service.

(2) August 2011 "Business Intelligence: Making Cents of Performance," (C) 2011 KLAS Enterprises, LLC. All rights reserved. .


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Social media impact on disease management

Social media impact on disease management | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
When Ruby Wax opened up about depression, so did her fans. Four and a half years ago, Ruby Wax found herself hospitalised with what she calls "the tsunami of all depressions". After many months of treatment – sandwiched between sitting in a chair, staring catatonically into space – she recovered sufficiently to write a show, Live from the Priory, with her friend Judith Owen, which they performed in both private and NHS mental health institutions.

For a couple of years it was all quite low key, until Wax inadvertently became the mental illness celebrity, after allowing her face to be plastered all over the London Underground on Comic Relief posters, with a caption saying that she suffered from depression. "I hadn't quite anticipated the level of response," she admits. After initially feeling rather overwhelmed, she soon came to embrace it, because for every one crass comment about her "looking too well to be depressed", there were dozens more from fellow sufferers, thanking her for coming out the closet.

"There is still a huge stigma attached to mental illness in this country," she says. "Being depressed has become the modern-day witch trials. People can't see it and they don't understand it: some are worried it might be catching. For those who do come clean about their illness, the consequences can be catastrophic. While some industries are now more relaxed about it, there are still many in which your career is effectively over. You can't run a company once you've declared you've been diagnosed as clinically depressed. So the pressure to keep it to yourself, to try and tough it out, can be overwhelming. And, almost invariably, the longer you wait to get help, the worse the problem gets."

Once installed as the poster girl for depression, Wax and Owen sharpened up their act and took it around the country, culminating in an extended run in London's West End. The first half of the show was pretty much what you might have expected: a funny (mental illness is a much-underused comedy resource) and informative tour of depression, with a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thrown in for good measure. The second half, a question-and-answer session with the audience, was anything but.

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Happtique Custom Mobile App Delivery for Clinical Settings

Happtique Custom Mobile App Delivery for Clinical Settings | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
Mobile apps for tablets and smartphones are rapidly transforming how clinics and hospitals conduct business, treat patients, and provide post-op therapy and follow ups. A challenge has arisen with apps, though, that pits ease of use against privacy and security considerations. Hospitals want to control access to software used by their clinicians and patients while keeping usability painless and intuitive for everyone involved. Happtique is a new company that is offering healthcare facilities the ability to have their own branded app stores that can be designed specifically for clinicians and patients at each facility. Access can be granted and revoked as patients come and go, and employees that no longer work at the clinic automatically lose their permissions. Happtique is currently running a beta trial of the system at a few East Coast hospitals.

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IBM Contributes Data to the National Institutes of Health to Speed Drug Discovery

IBM is contributing a massive database of chemical data extracted from millions of patents and scientific literature to the National Institutes of Health. Th...
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Visualizing the medical data explosion

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Data mining without prejudice - MIT News Office

Data mining without prejudice - MIT News Office | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
The information age is also the age of information overload. Companies, governments, researchers and private citizens are accumulating digital data at an unprecedented rate, and amid all those quintillions of bytes could be the answers to questions of vital human interest: What environmental conditions contribute most to disease outbreaks? What sociopolitical factors contribute most to educational success? What player statistics best predict a baseball team’s win-loss record?

There are a host of mathematical tools for finding possible relationships among data, but most of them require some prior knowledge about what those relationships might be. The problem becomes much harder if you start with a blank slate, and harder still if the datasets are large. But that’s exactly the problem that researchers at MIT, Harvard University and the Broad Institute tackle in a paper appearing this week in the journal Science.

David Reshef, a joint MD-PhD student in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) — who, along with his brother, Yakir, is lead author on the new paper — says his team’s approach to data mining tries to maximize two properties that are often in conflict; he calls these generality and equitability.

The graph of the relationship between two variables in a dataset could take any shape: For a company’s hourly employees, the graph of hours worked to wages would approximate a straight line. A graph of flu incidence versus time, however, might undulate up and down, representing familiar seasonal outbreaks, whereas adoption of a new technology versus time might follow a convex curve, starting off slowly and ramping up as the technology proves itself. An algorithm for mining large datasets needs to be able to recognize any such relationship; that’s what Reshef means by generality.

Equitability is a little more subtle. If you actually tried to graph workers’ hours against wages, you probably wouldn’t get a perfectly straight line. There might be some overtime hours at higher wages that throw things off slightly, or Christmas bonuses, or reimbursement for expenses. In engineers’ parlance, there could be noise in the signal. Most data-mining algorithms score possible relationships between variables according to their noisiness; the noisier the relationship, the less likely that it represents a real-world dependency. But linear relationships, undulating relationships or curved relationships with the same amount of noise should all score equally well. That’s equitability.

As it happens, most previous attempts to create general data-mining algorithms have tended to privilege some relationships over others. So, for instance, a very noisy linear relationship might receive the same score as a nearly noiseless undulating relationship, making it difficult to interpret the algorithm’s output.

On the grid

Reshef holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s from MIT, but while both degrees are in computer science, for his master’s thesis he chose to work with Pardis Sabeti, an assistant professor of biology at Harvard and a member of Harvard and MIT’s joint Broad Institute. “I had started trying to think about some large epidemiological datasets, and since I wasn’t an epidemiologist, I didn’t really know what to look for,” Reshef says. “I just kind of wanted to know, ‘What are the variables in these datasets that are most associated?’ Being as naïve as I was, I hadn’t quite realized how difficult of a question that was to answer.” Once he realized the scale of the problem, “I roped my brother” — then an undergraduate math major at Harvard — “in to help me.”

Reshef’s eight co-authors on the Science paper include not only his brother, Sabeti, and Michael Mitzenmacher, a Harvard professor of computer science, but also colleagues from Oxford University in the U.K. (where Reshef was a Marshall Scholar), the Broad Institute and the Weizmann Institute in Israel, where Yakir is now a Fulbright Scholar.

The procedure that their algorithm follows can be interpreted visually. Effectively, the algorithm considers every pair of variables in a dataset and plots them against each other. It then overlays each graph with a series of denser and denser grids and identifies the grid cells that contain data points. Using principles borrowed from information theory, the algorithm assesses how orderly the patterns produced by the data-containing cells are. The score for each pair of variables is based on the score of its most orderly pattern.

“The fundamental idea behind this approach is that if a pattern exists in the data, there will be some gridding that can capture it,” Reshef says. And because the cells in a grid can track a curve as easily as they can a straight line, the method isn’t tied to any particular type of relationship.
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IBM Says We'll Have Mind-Reading Computers Within Five Years

IBM Says We'll Have Mind-Reading Computers Within Five Years | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
IBM's "5 in 5" forecast predicts brain-machine interfaces will reach the mass market by 2016.

Keyboards and mice may seem like clunky artifacts of the past within the next five years, pushed aside in favor of the ultimate user interface: the human mind.That’s according to IBM, which just published its “5 in 5″ forecast: a prediction about five innovations that will fundamentally change our world within the next five years. The most head-turning prediction: we’ll be able to use the power of our minds to operate machines.

This isn’t telepathy, so those hoping to get a real-time stream of thoughts from an individual had best look to shows like Heroes or Bablylon 5. What IBM envisions is using a simple brain-machine interface (BMI) that can detect different kinds of brainwaves and tell a computer to respond a certain way.

Extremely simple versions of the technology already exist in products like the Star Wars Force Trainer, which includes a headset that’s based on electroencephalography (EEG). More advanced versions of the technology have been beneficial to the disabled at operating computers.

Now IBM wants to take the tech mainstream. Big Blue says it’s working on technology for people to use their brains to interface with their everyday devices, like phones and PCs. “Just think about calling someone, and it happens,” IBM promises in this video:

PaigeF's comment, December 27, 2011 4:17 AM
Every year, IBM announces a brand new crop of predictions of technological changes that it thinks will come to pass in the next 5 years. Its been hit and misses to date. That said, biometric protection replacing passwords, computer systems reading minds and other things are being forecast by the tech giant. Article resource:<a title="Mind reading computers among IBM Five in Five predictions" href="">Mind reading computers among IBM Five in Five predictions</a>

Theres nothing wrong if we believe in this. Actually, Im excited to have this kind of technology and experience how it works. Its great to have this but it puts a lot of responsibility to the person who have it. So Im going to wait for it and lets see!
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A Billion Brains are Better Than One

MIT Sloan's Thomas W. Malone, author of The Future of Work, on how the smartest companies will use emerging technology to tap the power of collective intelli...
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Five Reasons Why Physicians Need to Use Social Media | HealthWorks Collective

Five Reasons Why Physicians Need to Use Social Media | HealthWorks Collective | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
EXCLUSIVE POST - Physician participation in social media is a health care imperative according to Dr. Kevin Pho, a practicing internist and the founder of, a leading online health portal; however, many physicians remain skeptical about the value of social media. At an Ethics Forum hosted by the Massachusetts Medical Societyon December 2, 2011, Pho suggested several reasons why physicians need to embrace new ways to communicate with their patients.A social media epiphany

Pho began blogging in May, 2004 as a way to share links to health care resources and talk about health care reform. In the fall of 2004, when the Merck drug Vioxx was recalled, Pho’s office was flooded with patient phone calls. In response, Pho decided to write a blog post about the recall. When one of his patients mentioned that the blog post had reassured and comforted him, Pho recognized the tremendous potential of social media. He realized that patients want health information but are overwhelmed, frustrated, confused and even frightened by what they find online. Health care professionals, Pho noted, can play an important role by becoming a reputable source of online information or by directing patients to reliable sources.

Making the case for social media participation

Pho offered five reasons doctors should participate in social media:

Provide context. Pho pointed out that every day new health stories are published. Social media is a powerful way for physicians to provide context and meaning to the news items that patients read and view.Dispel myths. Online health information can be medically and factually inaccurate. To maintain physicians’ standing as health care authorities, Pho emphasized that it is critical for doctors to use social media to counter myths perpetuated by inaccurate health information.Influence the health care debate. Pho cited the results of a Gallup survey which concluded that patients trust physicians regarding health care policy. Participation in social media gives physicians a way to express their views and influence the formulation of policies that will shape how medicine is practiced.Connect with mainstream media. Experience with social media can provide physicians with the skills they need to connect with mainstream media. For example, Pho noted that writing his blog gave him the confidence to write op-eds for mainstream news publications. Hear what patients have to say. Social media gives patients a place to express their frustrations and concerns about health care. By listening to patient feedback on his blog, Pho has changed the way he practices medicine. He now offers same day appointments, doesn’t take his laptop into the exam room and makes sure patients receive their test results.

Rules of engagement

Prior to using social media, Pho suggested that physicians consult guidelines, such as those prepared by the American Medical Association or the Massachusetts Medical Society. He emphasized that patient privacy always comes first. He also offered these pointers:

Tiptoe into social media. Start small by establishing a presence in a single social media community. Expand your presence as you get more comfortable.Stay professional. Pho advised that rules for online and offline professional behavior are identical: behavior on the web is no different from behavior in the exam room.Think twice before you hit enter. Pho reminded attendees that what you post on the web is permanently indexed by search engines so post thoughtfully not impulsively. Manage your online reputation. According to Pho you can’t get delete a negative online review but you can downplay its significance by creating a healthy online presence. He noted that any page you put in your own name such as websites, blogs or social profiles on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook, will rank more highly in search results than reviews on third party rating sites. Additionally, he suggested being proactive by asking patients to submit reviews. He noted that most reviews are positive. He also encourages doctors to Google their name at least once a week to continually monitor and protect your reputation.
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health care predictive analytics - ideal for reducing healthcare costs

health care predictive analytics -  ideal for reducing healthcare costs | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
Yes, it is a mouthful. However, it is one of the best tools to get a handle on reducing the cost of health care in the U.S. Imagine, in 10 years, your health care provider will have nearly 1.5 million clinical decisions they could make about your health when figuring out what ails you.

Meanwhile, the activities of university researchers, federal researchers and private enterprises will continue to pour new information, techniques, technologies, and pharmaceuticals into the medical domain to the tune of 7.3 giga tetraoctets1! What is a giga tetraoctet you ask?

Well, right now, the global output of digital data estimated by the International Data Corporation is more than 1.2 zettabytes! Right. And what is a zettabyte? Well, consider the amount of data generated if everyone on Earth Twittered for an entire century, and it was compressed into one year -- that would equal one zettabyte. So what does the number 7.3 giga tetraoctets look like? How about this: 4,774,784,000,000,000,000 bytes or 4,774 zettabytes. And guess what -- they even have a name for that big number: “Yattabytes”, or as we would call it-- a lottabytes! And just as an aside, the National Security Agency, our friendly spy in the sky, is currently building a data center in the Utah desert that they project will be storing yattabytes of surveillance data -- that's a whole lot of images!

So pity the poor health providers that have to deal with all this data! That's where predictive analytics comes in! Not only can it “mine” the data for useful information, but it can “model” it for analysis. The promise of health care predictive analytics cannot be underestimated.The result is a wealth of new, evidence-based clinical options for providers. You too will have a wealth of information sources to assist you in making decisions about your health. Equally important, you will have continual access to all your health information no matter when or where you are in the world, enabling health care organizations down to the solo provider to insure a continuity of care throughout your life. Providers and health care administrators will also benefit by discovering and resolving inefficiencies in their organizations and practices giving them an important tool in managing health care costs. And those are just a few of the benefits health care predictive analytics promises to deliver.

Remember WATSON, the super computer that played Jeopardy last year? Well IBM is exploring using WATSON and another data mining and modeling process called neural networking to assist in analyzing this avalanche of new and existing health care data.

The future will involve empowering you with much more control over maintaining your health, and creating a seamless health care experience that will keep both you and your health care providers operating at peak performance.

There's a fairly new startup in Bayside, called Redwood Medical Consulting, that is exploring these possibilities as well as currently offering health care providers EHR or practice management solutions ranging from free to modestly priced systems. And almost as if designed as a “practice run,” as of Jan. 1, 2012, providers will have to use a new and enlarged set of numbers, called “HIPAA Transaction Codes 5010.” They already are using a smaller set of codes, called: “HIPAA Transaction Codes 4010,” but there are 850-plus new codes that they will be required to use.

Redwood Medical Consulting is also preparing a series of seminars to assist health care providers cope with another, new and very big set of numbers: the codes used to describe your encounter with that provider to the insurance company, Medicare, etc. -- whoever is reimbursing that provider for his or her services. Right now there are about 18,000 codes called ICD-9 or “International Classification of Diseases No. 9.” As of Oct. 1, 2013, a new set of code numbers called ICD-10 will replace ICD-9 and the number of codes jumps to 170,000! And providers will be required to add a lot more information to the “SOAP” or CHART note they create after your visit so the billing department knows which of the new codes to use when submitting a claim for reimbursement.

There are a lot of big changes, big numbers and big challenges for health care providers to cope with in the near future. Although the changes promise improved healthcare safety, affordability and accessibility, to name a few, the changes also mean being “able to leap tall buildings in a single bound” ... a caped crusader once said.
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Better health, byte by byte

What does a child’s proximity to a local swimming pool have to do with controlling diabetes? It’s a good question, but not something many doctors factor into their diagnoses of patients. Fact is, swimming pools are a great source of exercise, an important part of controlling diabetes. If a doctor knew you had a pool near your house they might suggest it as an exercise option when counseling you on treatments.

Thanks to new research work taking place at the Georgia Institute of Technology in collaboration with IBM, Atlanta is aiming to be the first city in the country to use “environmental” data to transform pediatric health care. The One Million Healthy Children project will pull together dozens of nonmedical information sources for doctors initially focused on treating asthma, autism and diabetes.

In the near future, doctors in Atlanta will be able to factor variables like transportation, health services, food resources and educational attainment into their care for children with these conditions.

Our children are at the center of a major health crisis. In Georgia alone, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death while the state incurs approximately $4 billion in diabetes-related costs each year. Our emergency rooms are filled with children dealing with asthma-related complications and the state’s autism rates are rising faster than the national average.

Trends like these call for new approaches and partnerships. The One Million Healthy Children project is an important first step in using this environmental data. The partnerships put in place with Georgia Tech University, Emory University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Cancer Coalition and the Georgia Department of Community Health will help build a smarter health care system that is more responsive to the environment our children live in.

So what is going to be different for our children when this data is at health providers’ fingertips? Factors far beyond the traditional health care system — including finance, urban planning, individual behavior, disease transmission, clinical research and media — have an influence on human health. Understanding the interconnectedness of factors is critical to developing effective programs that enhance health and well-being.

When you are able to combine medical information with this environmental data, it gives health providers and policymakers a more holistic view of the effects of their actions. For example, if urban planners were able to see that residents of a certain block were dealing with more complications from asthma than other parts of the city, perhaps they’d create more areas for trees nearby. (Studies have shown that children who lived on tree-lined streets have a lower rate of asthma.)

Georgians should be excited by this initiative, and proud. Our local university systems are showing leadership in an emerging field that can have real consequences on the future of health care. The use of data and analytics has been identified as one of the fastest-growing skill sets employers are looking for. Our community’s children can be one of the early beneficiaries of this new approach to wellness.

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How Will Patients, Families and Doctors Handle the Coming Flood of Personalized Genetic Data?

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sequencing the entire human genome took more than a decade before leaders of the Human Genome Project announced their completion of a rough draft in a 2000 White House ceremony. Finished in 2003, sequencing that first genome cost nearly $3 billion. Today, with advances in technology, an individual's whole genome can be sequenced in a few months for about $4,000.

But knowing just what to do with this knowledge has not kept pace with the gusher of genetic data. People can now have their own genome analyzed—all 3 billion pairs of DNA letters per person—offering clues to their current and future risks of genetic diseases. But what will individuals do with this flood of information? Is some of it information that they prefer not to know? How will knowledge of a child's possible future risks affect the parents' decisions now?

These are just a few of the near-future issues being explored in a new four-year grant from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the federal agency that sponsored the Human Genome Project. The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia is one of five U.S. centers, and the only one focusing on pediatrics, to receive a new four-year Clinical Sequencing Exploratory Research Project award. Children's Hospital will receive $2.2 million per year for four years.

The NHGRI announced the grant today as part of an intensified focus on the medical applications of its flagship Genome Sequencing Program.

The grant recipients are forming a consortium to define social and ethical issues associated with clinical sequencing, and to propose guidelines on sharing, interpreting and using this genetic information. Much of the consortium's work will focus on guiding physicians and genetic counselors in interpreting data for families and patients.

"Currently, when gene analysis helps us arrive at a diagnosis of a child's disorder, we can then counsel a family, providing information about what to expect and what options may be available for therapy and medical intervention," said clinical geneticist Ian D. Krantz, M.D. "But among the thousands of gene variants in someone's genome, only a handful will be clinically significant or actionable—lending themselves to doing something medically—while most will either not be actionable or will of unclear significance."

Krantz is the principal investigator (PI) of the project at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, along with co-PI Nancy B. Spinner, Ph.D., director of the Clinical Cytogenomics Laboratory at Children's Hospital. Both researchers also are faculty members at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, which is partnering with Children's Hospital on three projects comprising the grant.

In addition to pinpointing gene variations that are the likely causes of a condition for which a patient is being studied, say the researchers, whole-genome sequencing will also uncover so-called "incidental findings." These findings are gene variants not related to a current condition, but having a bearing on an individual's future health. "We will investigate which of these incidental findings should be disclosed to a patient's family," said Spinner. "This is a complex issue that will benefit from the insights and contributions of the multidisciplinary team we have assembled for this program."

The first project under the grant, Clinical Genomics Studies, is co-led by Krantz and Spinner, and will enroll four cohorts of children in these disease groups: bilateral sensorineural hearing impairment, nuclear encoded mitochondrial respiratory chain disorders, sudden cardiac arrest and intellectual disability. "Each of these groups of disorders cannot be easily diagnosed with a gene-by-gene approach, so experts from several disciplines will develop tools for sequencing the patients' whole genomes and then interpreting the vast amounts of data," said Krantz. "Not all the gene mutations we find will be clinically useful, and we will work with families to understand what information they desire, and how clinicians should present it."


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Six Social Media Trends for 2012

Six Social Media Trends for 2012 | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
Each year at this time, I look forward and predict trends in social media for the coming year. But first, I look back at my predictions from last year. How'd I do? Not bad.

Social media continues to move forward toward business integration, a trend that I identified last year. In a joint study from Booz Allen and social platform developer Buddy Media, 57 percent of businesses surveyed plan to increase social media spending, while 38 percent of CEO's label social as a high priority.

I was also partially accurate in predicting that Google would "strike back" in 2011. They did, with Google Plus, a formidable initiative that acts as Google's "social layer" to the Web. Part social network and part social search, Google Plus has industry observers scratching their heads, wondering if Facebook will be given a run for their money or if the service evolves into something complimentary in a highly social Web.

I had one big swing-and-miss on Facebook's intrusion in the location-based services war. While Facebook still supports location tracking in a number of ways, it has not put Foursquare out of business. Foursquare still enjoys a niche audience of highly active participants who enjoy telling the world where they are and post pictures to prove it. It is however worth noting that Facebook recently acquired location based network Gowalla, so continue to watch this space.

So what can we expect in 2012 in a world that seems to grow ever connected by the hour? Here are six predictions to ponder, in no particular order:

Convergence Emergence. For a glimpse into how social will further integrate with "real life," we can look at what Coca Cola experimented with all the way back in 2010. Coke created an amusement park where participants could "swipe" their RFID-equipped wristbands at kiosks, which posted to their Facebook account what they were doing and where. Also, as part of a marketing campaign, Domino's Pizza posted feedback — unfiltered feedback — on a large billboard in Times Square, bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world. These types of "trans-media" experiences are likely to define "social" in the year to come.

The Cult of Influence. In much the same way that Google has defined a system that rewards those who produce findable content, there is a race on to develop a system that will reward those who wield the most social influence. One particular player has emerged, Klout, determined to establish their platform as the authority of digital influence. Klout's attempt to convert digital influence into business value underscores a much bigger movement which we'll continue to see play out in the next year. To some degree everyone now has some digital influence (not just celebrities, academics, policy makers or those who sway public opinion). But for the next year, the cult of influence becomes less about consumer plays like Klout and more about the tools and techniques professionals use to "score" digital influence and actually harness, scale and measure the results of it.

Gamification Nation. No we're not taking about video games. Rather, game-like qualities are emerging within a number of social apps in your browser or mobile device. From levels, to leaderboards, to badges or points, rewards for participation abound. It's likely that the trend will have to evolve given how competition for our time and attention this gaming creates. Primarily, gamification has been used in consumer settings, but look for it in other areas from HR, to government, healthcare and even business management. Perhaps negotiating your next raise will be tied to your position on the company's digital leaderboard.

Social Sharing. Ideas, opinions, media, status updates are all part of what makes social media a powerful and often disruptive force. The media industry was one of the first to understand this, adding sharing options to content, which led to more page views and better status in search results. What comes next in social sharing is more closely aligned with e-commerce or web transactions. For example, Sears allows a user to share a product or review with their networks directly from the site. Sharing that vacation you just booked, or recommending a product, or service from any site to a social network is where sharing goes next. We probably don't know what we are willing to share until we see the option to do it.

Social Television. For many of us, watching television is already a social act, whether it's talking to the person next to you, or texting, tweeting, and calling friends about what you're watching. But television is about to become a social experience in a bigger and broader sense. The X Factor now allows voting via Twitter and highlights other social promotions, which encourages viewers to tap social networks while they watch. Another way media consumption is becoming social comes from a network called Get Glue which acts as something of a Foursquare for media. Participants can "check-in" to their favorite shows (or other forms of media) and collect stickers to tell the world what programs they love. Watch for more of this this year as ratings rise for socially integrated shows.

The Micro Economy. Lastly as we roll into 2012, watch for a more social approach to solving business problems through a sort of micro-economy. Kickstarter gives anyone with a project, the opportunity to get that initiative funded by those who choose to (and patrons receive something in return). A crowdsourcing platform for would be inventors called Quirky lets the best product ideas rise to the top and then helps them get produced and sold while the "inventor" takes a cut. Air BnB turns homes into hotels and travelers into guests, providing both parties with an opportunity to make and save money. These examples may point to a new future reality where economic value is directly negotiated and exchanged between individuals over institutions.

These are a few emerging trends which come to mind. As with anything, looking to the past often gives us clues for what may come in the future. Please weigh in with your thoughts: where do you see "social" going in 2012?
Ashleigh Woods's curator insight, October 12, 2014 11:05 PM


Examining the trends in social media is vital to ensure that the maximum potential for the use of social media is reached. By observing trends, individuals and businesses are able to continue to use social media channels to better themselves and their business. This article shows just how important social media is when creating awareness for a business and how much it can really influence consumers.

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Can Differential Diagnosis Be Crowdsourced to Facebook Friends?

Can Differential Diagnosis Be Crowdsourced to Facebook Friends? | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
A paper in the Christmas edition of the Danish Medical Journalattempts to ask whether we can trust our Facebook friends with providing a differential diagnosis. One of the authors, Dr. Peter Hallas, modestly asked that we take a look at his paper, so we jumped at the chance and think he should give himself and his co-authors a lot of credit for studying phenomena that are already occurring.The study (in Danish) involved asking subjects to post a clinical scenario on their wall and ask their friends for a potential diagnosis. The setup for the paper by Dr. Lars Folkestad and others seems a little artificial, but if you consider that a certain amount of diseases are infectious or genetic in origin then a question to your social and/or family circles is likely to find someone who has had a similar episode and already been diagnosed.

From the English abstract:

INTRODUCTION: In contrast to Internet search engines, social media on the Internet such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. reach a large number of people, who are ready to help answering questions. This type of information aggregation has been dubbed “crowdsourcing” i.e. outsourcing a task to a large group of people or community (a crowd) through an open call. Our aim was to explore whether laypersons via Facebook friends could crowd source their way to a medical diagnosis based on a brief medical history, posted as a status update on Facebook.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The participants posted a brief case story on their Facebook profile and asked their »Facebook friends” to come up with possible diagnoses.

RESULTS: The correct diagnosis was suggested in five of the six case stories, and the correct diagnosis was made after a median of ten minutes. The quality of the responses varied from relevant differential diagnoses to very silly diagnostic suggestions.

CONCLUSION: Based on this study, we believe that laypersons can use his or her »Facebook friends” to identify the need to see a doctor for their symptoms rather than relying on them to give them a specific diagnosis for their symptoms.

While we wish we could read the rest of the study, it seems ever more likely that Facebook and other social networks will continue to inform patients, perhaps supplementing WebMD and Wikipedia as the first source for many patients wondering the source of that cough or bump.
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GE, Microsoft in e-health venture

GE, Microsoft in e-health venture | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
GENERAL Electric and Microsoft are joining forces to create an open platform and provide real-time, system-wide intelligence across healthcare organisations for better population data analysis.

A new joint venture company will bring together Microsoft’s platform expertise and GE Healthcare’s experience in clinical and administrative workflow systems.

The move represents a major shift to the use of advanced analytics in healthcare for improved patient care and safety and administrative efficiencies.

GE Healthcare has been using SAS Business Analytic tools to mine patient data streamed from remote monitoring systems and new digital imaging and diagnostic tools as part of its work on clinical safety.

Earlier this year, GE and Intel launched Care Innovations, a joint venture company focused on the emerging market for medical home monitoring systems.

Care Innovations is spending $US250 million developing new fall prevention, medication compliance and personal wellness systems over the next five years.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has been beefing up its health IT expertise, and last month signed up to Queensland’s Mater Health Services “smart hospital consortium”.

The latest announcement sees GE Healthcare and Microsoft unveiling a company “aimed at global healthcare system transformation”, according to a statement.

“As health providers and payers around the world shift from episodic, single-patient care to continuous population management, new requirements have emerged for integrated care processes, greater insight and engaging patient experiences,” it says.

“These delivery system reforms, including a shift toward new payment models, require providers to address gaps and integrate data across silos of care delivery to enable better care coordination and performance.”

The as-yet unnamed company will “deliver a distinctive, interoperable technology platform” that will connect with a wide range of healthcare IT products, “including those from GE Healthcare and other vendors”.

The venture’s in-house developers will develop applications for the platform, but its open nature will also allow independent software developers to build “a new generation” of clinical applications.

Microsoft will contribute its Amalga enterprise health intelligence platform, Vergence single sign-on and context management solution, and expreSSO enterprise sign-on solution.

GE Healthcare will provide its eHealth health information exchange, and the Qualibria clinical knowledge application environment being developed in conjunction with Intermountain Healthcare and the Mayo Clinic.

The long-term vision is to “create new value by offering a healthcare performance suite” that includes many of these products.

Michael Simpson, vice-president of GE Healthcare IT, will serve as the founding chief executive, while the new company will be based near Microsoft’s Redmond campus.

New products will address the problems of healthcare related infections and chronic disease management.

“By pulling together data from disparate IT systems, identifying those most at risk for a given hospital related infection and surfacing guidelines and protocols within provider workflow, the solutions will allow health organisations to more effectively deploy their resources and deliver better care at lower costs,” the statement says.

“To better manage chronic conditions, the platform and applications will support the sharing of data generated by at-home medical devices with health providers, for better tracking and coordination of treatment, medication compliance and timely interventions.”

GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt said the challenges of healthcare access, cost and quality of care “are creating a new focus on the performance and accountability of delivery systems in every country, at every level of care”.

“This venture will demonstrate what is possible when leading companies with complementary capabilities work together to meet a common goal,” Mr Immelt said.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said healthcare is an area where technology can make a huge difference.

“Combining Microsoft’s open health platforms and software expertise with GE’s experience and healthcare solutions will create exciting opportunities for patients and providers alike,” Mr Ballmer said.

The two companies will continue to compete for sales of other products and services in the health IT marketplace.

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Cognitive Computing: When Computers Become Brains - Forbes

Cognitive Computing: When Computers Become Brains - Forbes | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
The gnomes at IBM’s research labs were not content to make merely a genius computer that could beat any human at the game of jeopardy. They had to go and create a new kind of machine intelligence that mimics the actual human brain.

Watson, the reigning jeopardy champ, is smart, but it’s still recognizably a computer. This new stuff is something completely different. IBM is setting out to build a brain from the ground up.

Cognitive computing, as the new field is called, takes computing concepts to a whole new level. Earlier this week, Dharmendra Modha, who works at IBM’s Almaden Research Center, regaled a roomful of analysts with what cognitive computing can do and how IBM is going about making a machine that thinks the way we do. His own blog on the subject is here.

First Modha described the challenges, which involve aspects of neuroscience, supercomputing, and nanotechnology.

The human brain integrates memory and processing together, weighs less than 3 lbs, occupies about a two-liter volume, and uses less power than a light bulb. It operates as a massively parallel distributed processor. It is event driven, that is, it reacts to things in its environment, uses little power when active and even less while resting. It is a reconfigurable, fault-tolerant learning system. It is excellent at pattern recognition and teasing out relationships.

A computer, on the other hand, has separate memory and processing. It does its work sequentially for the most part and is run by a clock. The clock, like a drum majorette in a military band, drives every instruction and piece of data to its next location — musical chairs with enough chairs. As clock rates increase to drive data faster, power consumption goes up dramatically, and even at rest these machines need a lot of electricity. More importantly, computers have to be programmed. They are hard wired and fault prone. They are good at executing defined algorithms and performing analytics.

With $41 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the scientists at the Almaden lab set out to make a brain in a project called Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE).

The rough analogy between a brain and a computer posits roles for cell types — neurons, axons, and synapses — that correspond to machine elements — processors, communications links, and memory. The matches are not exact, as brain cells’ functions are less distinct from each other than the computer elements. But the key is that the brain elements all reside near each other, and activity in any given complex is stimulated by activity from adjacent complexes. That is, thoughts stimulate other thoughts.

Modha and his team set out to map and synthesize a wiring diagram for the brain, no trivial task, as the brain has 22 billion neurons and 220 trillion synapses. In May 2009, the team managed to simulate a system with 1 billion neurons, roughly the brain of a lower mammal. Except that it operates at one-thousandth of real time, not enough to perform what Modha called “the four Fs”: food, fight, flight, and mating.

But the structure of this machine is entirely different from today’s commercial computers. The memory and processing elements are built close together. It has no clock. Operations are asynchronous and event driven; that is, they have no predetermined order or schedule. And instead of being programmed, they learn. Just like us.

Part of getting the power down to brain-like levels is not storing temporary results (caching, in industry jargon). Sensing stimulates action, which is sensed and acted upon further. And so on.

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Website to monitor doctors (GP) performance launched in London

Website to monitor doctors (GP) performance launched in London | Analytics & Social media impact on Healthcare |
Residents in London will now be able to see how well their local GP is doing as a website which monitors doctors' performances is launched.

The My Health London website will show GP standards such as screening rates and patient approval scores.

NHS London said the project was aimed at improving GPs' services.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the information was meaningless without an understanding of the demographics the GP practice works in.

NHS London said it hoped the website would "create an information hub that would constantly be developed like an online newspaper focusing on health issues for Londoners".

It said it would help residents find out how their practice performs against standards such as childhood immunisations and cervical screening as well as how they compare to other GP practices.

'Informed decisions'Dr Phil Koczan, a GP based in Chingford, north-east London, said as healthcare needs vary widely across London, it was hoped that GPs would learn from colleagues in other practices.

Each practice will have its own webpage which can be customised to keep people informed of clinics and services and it will also enable patients to provide feedback.


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