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Understanding the uses of "big data" in healthcare is not something decision-makers should leave to others. Big data is gaining a foothold in healthcare. Understanding what big data is useful for, how reliable it is, and how far it has spread requires separating facts from fads.  

This is so important that ECRI Institute and its cosponsors assembled an extraordinary array of experts—people whose expertise comes from their use of big data for practical purposes—to provide this public service conference at the National Academy of Sciences. Our distinguished conference speakers will present evidence and perspectives on how their organizations are using big data now and where they are likely to use it in the near future. 

 

ECRI Institute and co-planners had three specific aims for this conference:

  1. Define big data within the context of healthcare.

  2. Take the status of big data to separate the “hype” surrounding big data from its actual potential.

  3. Identify big data’s applicability within healthcare, who is actually using it, and how it relates to “smaller” data.

No single conference will sort these issues completely, BUT no other conference has taken this on.

Attendees gained a greater understanding of how big data is being used today by public and private health systems, major employers, providers, insurers, government agencies, researchers, and onsumers. They left the conference with an excellent understanding of the status of the use of big data in many key areas of healthcare.

What attendees had to say:

“ECRI Institute did a great job keeping this evidence based!” 

“Great conference, great panel!”

"Liked the building up on topics to produce full picture. Great 'free' conference which leadership and frontline staff would benefit from attendance.” 

"The conference was great. I really enjoyed the knowledge exchange that took place. I can’t wait for the next conference."

What makes ECRI Institute’s conferences different?

ECRI Institute conferences are always designed to be nonpartisan and to engage the audience in a vibrant discussion with the speakers. The agenda is arranged so that each session follows upon the previous one to provide a coherent experience to participants. You are not expected to know a great deal about big data going in, but you are asked to be actively engaged and participate in the discussions that will take place. All the material that was presented was completely understandable and useful to participants.

Note
ECRI Institute hosts our annual conference on the use of evidence in policy and practice to address broad issues about the science, evaluation of evidence, and the use of medical technology, pharmaceuticals, procedures, and health services. This conference is free and open to the public, and as an added benefit, we record the conference proceedings and add the recordings of the conference to our conference website. None of the speakers and moderators receive honorarium and we do not receive sponsorship from for-profit companies. The annual conference is intended to be an opportunity to exchange ideas for educational purposes. Each annual conference may include opinions, advice, statements, presentations, data, images, videos, documentation and other information (“Materials”) expressed or otherwise shared by presenters whom ECRI Institute has invited to participate. The Materials are for informational purposes only, and the statements, views and opinions expressed at any presentation or in any Materials are those solely of the presenter and not of ECRI Institute. Further, ECRI Institute invites audience members to ask speakers and moderators questions during the question and answer periods at the conclusion of each conference session. ECRI Institute does not endorse or recommend any moderator, speaker, audience member or any views mentioned at any conference or in the Materials.

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This conference was a free public service.

The conference was organized in a way that is similar to an edited book. Each session builds upon the previous one, like each chapter of a book informs the next (download the agenda).

​Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Welcome, Acknowledgements, and Introduction to the Format and Major Themes of the Conference (video recording)
  • Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, ECRI Institute (bio)

  • Murray Ross, PhD, Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan; Director, Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy

Session 1 ​​: Creating Infrastructure for Big Data in the Public and Private Sectors

​The “infrastructure” for big data is comprised of far more than the information technology necessary to gather and analyze it. It includes new capabilities to develop the medical research infrastructure that is changing approaches to individualized diagnostic and treatment options for physicians and patients in areas such as breast and other cancers. In addition, the information systems and changes in operations of businesses, like search engine providers or retail pharmacies, can and do inform healthcare more broadly. This session is designed to help us define and understand important aspects of the current big data information infrastructure … warts and all.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:
  • Survey the current state of infrastructure for big data

  • Examine how we are preparing for the future of big data by establishing the infrastructure now

  • Debate what more needs to be accomplished before the use of big data can reach its true potential

  • Describe the challenges caused by a limited infrastructure for big data

  • Examine whether issues such as transparency, privacy, and consent are being factored into the governance of these new infrastructures

  • Address ethical considerations of data protection and consent

Presenters
  • Speaker/Moderator: Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, ECRI Institute

  • George Bo-Linn, MD, Chief Program Officer, Patient Care Program, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (bio l video recording)

  • Troyen A. Brennan, MD, MPH, JD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, CVS Caremark Corporation (bio l video recording)

  • Larry Norton, MD, Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs; Medical Director, Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center; Norna S. Sarofim Chair in Clinical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (bio l video recording)

  • ​Q&A (video recording)

Session 2: Investing in Big Data: The View from the Health System C-Suite

​In determining whether big data are affecting health systems, it is essential to understand what data the c-suite leadership are using. This session features chief executive officers of major health systems who will discuss what data they use to inform their decision-making process.


Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:
  • Compare how the leaders of different health systems are using big data to inform their decision-making process

  • Examine the types of big data that leaders of different health systems find to be useful in governance

  • Describe how different health systems view the importance of big data at the executive level

  • Survey whether the proliferation of big data has alerted the C-suite to issues of privacy with regards to sensitive patient data

  • Address ethical implications of business decisions regarding the use of big data

Presenters

  • Moderator: Ralph W. Muller, Chief Executive Officer, University of Pennsylvania Health System (bio l video recording)

  • Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer, Partners HealthCare (bio l video recording)

  • Glenn D. Steele Jr., MD, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Geisinger Health System (bio l video recording

  • Q&A (video recording)

​​Session 3: The Most Advanced EHRs

​Electronic Health Records (EHRs) were designed primarily to address reimbursement and care coordination issues. But efforts are under way to help improve and guide care delivery, carry out research, and inform quality assessment. How are providers using EHRs to manage their networks and determine how to deliver the best care to patients? This session examines the progress towards making EHRs the linchpin of big data in provider and payer settings.     


Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Survey the progress being made towards making electronic health records (EHRs) the linchpin of big data in provider and payer settings

  • Recognize the efforts being made to incorporate data from EHRs to help improve and guide care delivery, carry out research, and inform quality assessment

  • Examine how providers are using EHRs to manage their networks to determine how to deliver the best care to patients

  • Review ethical issues of accessibility and security of EHRs

  • Assess what steps providers are taking to ensure the security of patient data as EHRs become more accessible to patients 

Presenters

  • Moderator: Lee A. Fleisher, MD, Chair, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania Health System (bio l video recording)

  • Steve G. Peters, MD, Vice Chief Medical Information Officer, Mayo Clinic (bio l video recording)

  • Theresa Cullen, MD, MS, Director, Health Informatics, Veterans Health Administration (bio l video recording)

  • Terhilda Garrido, MPH, Vice President, Health Information Technology Transformation & Analytics, Kaiser Permanente (bio l video recording)

  • Jan Lee, MD, Chief Executive Officer, Delaware Health Information Network (bio l video recording)

  • ​Q&A (video recording)

Session 4: Can Big Data Make a Health System Bigger and Better?

​This session raises important questions about the expanding usefulness of bigger and smaller data in health systems. It looks at the financial and productivity cost of collecting data in EHRs and whether it can be reduced. It examines strategies enabled by approaches to data collection that bring community care hospitals into the research enterprise. It discusses whether clinicians, at any stage of their career, are being educated to use data more effectively in practice. It also considers whether data can help forge a more secure tie between care delivered in institutions and ambulatory care.


Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to: 
  • Examine the expanding usefulness of bigger and smaller data in health systems

  • Appraise the financial and productivity cost of collecting data in EHRs and whether it can be reduced

  • Survey the strategies enabled by approaches to data collection that bring community care hospitals into the research enterprise

  • Debate the ethical implications of utilizing patient data to enhance care

  • Examine whether clinicians, at any stage of their career, are being educated to use data more effectively in practice

  • Assess whether data can help forge a more secure tie between care delivered in institutions and ambulatory care

Presenters

  • Moderator: John Iglehart, Founding Editor, Health Affairs (bio l video recording)

  • Brent James, MD, M.Stat, Chief Quality Officer and Executive Director, Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, Intermountain Healthcare (bio l video recording)

  • Robert L. Jesse, MD, PhD, Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs (bio l video recording)

  • Marc Triola, MD, FACP, Associate Dean for Educational Informatics, Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine (video recording)

  • Q&A (video recording)

Session 5: Analyzing Patient Safety Signals: EHRs, Registries, and Beyond

​How are the data collected by regulators and health systems being harnessed to improve patient safety and outcomes? This session explores key examples of how data are being used, and describes the rapidly evolving regulatory environment.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Assess whether the data collected by regulators and health systems is being harnessed to improve patient safety and outcomes

  • Examine what lawmakers are doing to ensure that patient privacy is respected

  • Identify key examples of how the data are being used in the rapidly evolving regulatory environment

  • Address the ethical considerations of patient privacy

Presenters
  • Moderator: Ronni P. Solomon, JD, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, ECRI Institute (bio l video recording)

  • Janet Woodcock, MD, Director, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food & Drug Administration (video recording)

  • Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, President, Clinical Services and Chief Medical Officer, HCA, Inc. (bio l video recording)

  • William B. Munier, MD, MBA, Director, Center for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (bio l video recording)

  • ​Q&A (video recording)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Introduction
  • Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, ECRI Institute (video recording)

​​Session 6: Seeking the Learning Healthcare System Through New Partnerships

​In order to harness the potential of big data, novel business, research, and learning relationships are emerging between the health care delivery and information technology sectors. An example is Optum Labs, a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and Optum, which aims to improve patient care by mining data from 110 million claims records. Another is WellPoint’s partnership with IBM to create the first commercial applications for the IBM Watson technology. This session will consider the drivers and attractors for these collaborations plus how the efforts are structured, bounded, and governed. Specific attention will be given to how these complex alliances are aimed at expanding the capacity for and pace of innovation, citing examples from cancer and cardiovascular research.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:
  • Recognize the novel business, research and learning relationships that are emerging between the health care delivery and information technology sectors

  • Describe how Optum Labs, a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and Optum, plans to improve patient care by mining data from 110 million claims records

  • Examine WellPoint’s partnership with IBM to create the first commercial applications for the IBM Watson technology

  • Identify the drivers and attractors for these types of collaborations

  • Describe how the efforts to create new partnerships around big data are structured, bounded, and governed

  • Describe how these complex alliances are aimed at expanding the capacity for and pace of innovation

  • Debate the ethical implications that arise from these new partnerships

Presenters
  • Moderator: Lynn Etheredge, Consultant, Rapid Learning Project, The George Washington University (bio l video recording)

  • Samuel R. Nussbaum, MD, Executive Vice President, Clinical Health Policy; Chief Medical Officer, WellPoint (bio l video recording)

  • Paul Wallace, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President for Clinical Translation, Optum Labs (bio l video recording)

  • Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, Director, Duke Center for Learning Health Care (bio l video recording)

  • ​Q&A (video recording)

​​Session 7: Big Data’s Influence on Cost and Quality

​Cost and quality issues are a long-standing and pressing concern for public payers, health systems, and public health. In this session we examine how incorporating new big data, including predictive modeling, facilitates our understanding and the ability to address the issues more efficiently.

                
Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Assess how incorporating new, big data facilitates the understanding and the ability to address issues such as cost and quality among public payers, health systems and public health

  • Examine the evidence behind new models of care, such as ACOs, to determine whether they are effective in modifying cultures and addressing population health

Presenters

  • Moderator: Robert Crane, Board of Trustee Member, ECRI Institute; Former Senior Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals; Founding Director, Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy (bio l video recording)

  • Shari Ling, MD, CMS Deputy, Chief Medical Officer, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (video recording)

  • Stephan D. Fihn, MD, MPH, Director, Office of Analytics and Business Intelligence, VA Puget Sound Health Care System (bio l video recording)

  • John Supra, MS, Deputy Director, Information Management, Chief Information Officer, South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (bio l video recording)

  • Nirav R. Shah, MD, New York State Commissioner of Health (bio l video recording)

  • Q&A (video recording)

​​Session 8: Population Health, the Crowd, and Privacy

​The boundaries between individual and population health may be becoming more porous as big data takes hold in healthcare. But how is this happening? Much of the data for big data comes from consumers and patients – the target of patient-centered care initiatives – and their experience with the Internet and social media. “Big data” analytics can also rapidly generate data sets to support “in-silico” trials on large numbers of patients sharing attributes of interest and drawn from multiple sources, such as EHRs and bio-banks. As more information becomes available and is used in various communication and research initiatives, perceptions of privacy may also alter the balance of benefits and harms and affect the future uses of big data. These topics will be brought together to better understand new possibilities for enhancing the health of populations.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain why the boundaries between individual and population health are becoming more porous as big data takes hold in healthcare

  • Debate whether as more information becomes available and is used in various communication and research initiatives, perceptions of privacy will alter the balance of benefits and harms

  • Describe the ethical implications of the future uses of big data

Presenters
  • Moderator: Joe V. Selby, MD, Executive Director, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (bio l video recording)

  • William W. Stead, MD, Associate Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs, Vanderbilt University (video recording)

  • Joel Kupersmith, MD, Former Chief Research and Development Officer, Veterans Health Administration (bio l video recording)

  • Jane Hyatt Thorpe, JD, Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Health Services, and Director, Healthcare Corporate Compliance Program, College of Professional Studies, The George Washington University (video recording)

  • Ben Heywood, Founder, PatientsLikeMe (bio l video recording)

  • Q&A (video recording)

Closing Remarks
  • Jeffrey C. Lerner, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer, ECRI Institute (video recording)

Supported by:​

  • ECRI Institute
  • Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy
  • U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Cosponsored and planned by:​

  • Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History
  • University of Pennsylvania Health System
  • Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania
  • AcademyHealth
  • Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Health Affairs
  • Milbank Memorial Fund
  • Sutter Health 

This event occurred in the past at:
The National Academy of Sciences
Washington, DC