Clinicians are on the front lines, using healthcare technology in their daily workflows. To get a sense of how technology is integrating into patient care, we recently sat down with three physicians from UPMC, a large academic healthcare institution based in Pittsburgh, Pa., consisting of 21 hospitals and a network of more than 3,500 employed physicians. The physicians opened up about the efficiency gained from mobile devices and the patient care benefits they’re seeing. They also shared insights from a pilot project currently underway using Windows* 8 tablets, and their hopes for the future as technology continues to change the game for providers and patients.


Joining us for this discussion were Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Vice President of Medical Information Technology across UPMC, Dr. Oscar Marroquin, a cardiologist who oversees clinical analytics and new models of care initiatives for UPMC, and Dr. Shivdev Rao, an academic cardiologist with 14 years of training, who works at the UPMC Technology Development Center as a physician adviser in residence.Rashu_Shrestha hr.jpg


There are many new patients coming into the U.S. healthcare system; how will this impact healthcare technology?


Marroquin: As more patients come into the healthcare system, physicians and providers in general are going to have to find ways to be more efficient at how we deliver care. We need to be efficient in the time that we spend with each patient and in the time between patients doing clerical work. Also, we need to be actively participating in the development of applications that take advantage of mobility, algorithms and analytics that lead us to delivering care in a faster, more efficient way.


With all of the new wearable technology coming to market, providing users with real-time data, how are you turning big data into meaningful information?


Shrestha: One of the challenges that we have in healthcare today is that we’re data rich and information poor. At the same time, we have this growing tsunami of data sets that are hitting us left, right and center. At UPMC within our information systems we have today 5.4 petabytes of data and that number is growing at a rate that doubles every 18 months. The challenge for institutions like UPMC is how to tame the data. If there are specific sensors tracking to specific types of metrics that are important from a health management perspective, are there specific times when you know it’s actually necessary to alert the clinician?  It’s not just about looking at data, but it’s recognizing patterns and being able to really condense this in a useful, intelligent, actionable manner for the clinicians and for the patients.


Tell us about mobility in healthcare. How does it affect you as a physician?


Rao: Healthcare is all about communication. Patients communicate their problems to me, and then I integrate those problems and try to contextualize them and communicate diagnoses and therapies. It’s really a dialectical situation. Mobility empowers that communication.


Marroquin: Mobility has had a positive impact on patient care: One, it allows us at the point of care to have all the information at our finger tips, and that lets us make the right decision at the right time to understand what’s going on and take action. Two, it’s useful in that I can share the information that I’m reviewing and have a tool that allows me to explain to patients why we are doing the tests or the treatments that we’re recommending.


At the more than 20 hospitals in the UPMC network, is a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) or end-to-end solution more desirable?


Shrestha: Consumerism in healthcare is a growing trend, and we’re all inundated with mobile devices. At UPMC, we’ve been working on a number of different scenarios with regards to BYOD, supporting a variety of different devices that our clinicians and others would want to bring into the work environment to get their work done. We’ve always had to deal with the challenges of security and access. We make sure that sensitive information in any records does not reside on a mobile device without some level of security. We’ve been very careful to evaluate all of the different devices as well as all of the different operating systems. We’ve learned quite a bit even in terms of the experiences that we’ve had with BYOD.


UPMC is undertaking a pilot project, Convergence, with Intel and Microsoft using Surface tablets with Windows* 8. What are some of the benefits of having all your clinical apps available to you on a tablet and how is it enhancing your ability to collaborate?

Shrestha: The interaction that we have with our patients is of paramount importance. What we’ve seen in the Convergence pilot is that the Surface tablet allows for information to be readily available to me as a clinician, so I can spend a lot more time with patients and I’m able to really interact with them and talk about things that I maybe wouldn’t have had the time to talk about. I’m able to pick up specific nuances of things that otherwise I would have missed as a result of being too busy with my eyes locked on the screen trying to piece information together. What’s also interesting about the tablet form factor is that at any given point in time, we’re able to just flip it around and actually show patients specific trends. We’re able to talk to them and educate them about the specifics, so it truly does make an impact in the interaction that we have with our patients.

Ben Wilson is director of mobile for healthcare at Intel Corporation. See his other blogs here.


Clinicians are on the go more than ever these days, and daily workflows demand that they have access to data at all times. This is where healthcare technology and mobility meet and provide the right tools that allow doctors and nurses to see vital patient information regardless of location.


That mission is the basis behind a new mobile platform developed by UPMC and Caradigm in partnership with Intel and Microsoft. To summarize a very in-depth initiative, UPMC and Caradigm developed a Windows* 8 mobile solution that enables users to:


  • Access patient data from multiple EMRs (including Cerner and EPIC) from one mobile touch interface
  • Navigate patient data using the assigned care pathway that was developed by doctors
  • Switch from the mobile app to the patient’s record in the enterprise EMR application to enter an order or schedule an appointment
  • Choose from wide-range of mobile devices, including tablets, 2 in 1s and convertibles
  • Feel comfortable they have the high-level enterprise security and manageability from Microsoft and Intel


Dr. Rasu Shrestha, Vice President of Medical Information Technology across UPMC, recently summed up the benefits of the platform for clinicians this way:


“The idea behind this pilot project is that our cardiologists are now able to walk around with Surface devices running Windows 8,” he said. “They very easily interact with our front end application, Convergence, which essentially brings the patient story to life. We’re in a fairly early stage and believe this system is extremely promising. Interoperability allows us to visualize the patient story on the mobile tablet and also navigate through it with our desktop environments. We’re bridging the past with the present and the future and that’s the way that we’ve really pushed things forward.”


As you can see, early reports are positive and the UPMC clinicians are on board with the process. In the above video, you can watch how UPMC is utilizing Convergence to improve patient care and why mobility is allowing its physicians to devote more time to patient interaction. View the clip to see first-hand how UPMC doctors are using the Windows* 8 framework, Surface tablets, and Caradigm solutions on their rounds and the benefits of having the right data at the right time.

What questions do you have?

Watch for my next blog as we sit down with Dr. Shrestha and two of his colleagues for a Q&A on healthcare technology.

Ben Wilson is director of mobile for healthcare at Intel Corporation. See his other blogs here.

The experience of flipping through clean, colorful presentations of vital patient data drew enthusiastic visitors to the Intel booth at HIMSS this week.


In a demonstration created by Intel, Microsoft and Cleveland Clinic (pictured), visitors were able to explore the value of next-generation touch interfaces on Intel-powered tablets and devices. The Windows* 8 proof-of-concept application showed the potential of developing useful new presentation layers that automatically surface key pieces of clinical data for a set of patients being treated:  risk status, vitals, recent labs, medications, notes and visit information, images, etc. Cleveland Clinic Booth_lowres.jpg


“This effort is deeply grounded in the needs of clinical teams to access the latest and most relevant patient information as they move throughout their shifts,” said Mark Blatt, MD, worldwide medical director for Intel’s health IT team.


“We are excited to show how Windows 8 apps have the potential to push critical information from the enterprise EHR to the clinician,” Dr. Blatt said. “Windows 8 and new Intel-powered mobile devices also allow clinicians the flexibility to use touch to enter data in tablet mode and keyboard and mouse to enter data in laptop mode. This offers a two-in-one benefit, a tablet when you want it and a laptop when you need it.”


The demonstration application allows clinicians to view a risk-stratified list of patients based on their health status via a live Windows 8 interface tile. Users can then select a patient and view the updated medical record in the Windows 8 touchscreen experience. 


“Innovation has always been the cornerstone of Cleveland Clinic's pursuit of providing the best patient care,” said Will Morris, MD, associate chief medical information officer at Cleveland Clinic. “With our long history of integrating health information technology into clinical practice, we are always looking for new opportunities, like this one, that allow us to explore and develop the latest tools and technologies.”


“Healthcare organizations need a no-compromise mobile productivity solution to help manage the multiple workflows and improve the collaboration of teams,” said Michael Robinson, vice president, U.S. Health and Life Sciences, Microsoft. “We believe that Windows 8 can help empower mobile teams to be more productive and secure, while complementing existing EHR systems.”


What questions do you have?

Collaboration is nothing new to healthcare, but with more patients to care for, more stakeholders to coordinate, and limited funds, traditional paper, phone and fax communications are woefully inadequate.


Delivering coordinated, collaborative care is not easy. It requires profound cultural shifts, payment restructuring, new roles and responsibilities, redesigned workflows, and advances in information tools and technologies, among other changes. 


If you are interested in fostering collaborative workflows, here are nine steps you should consider that can lead to success:


1.    Communicate the reasons for change

2.    Be systematic

3.    Define new roles

4.    Build teamwork skills

5.    Have physician champions

6.    Understand the workflow impact of new technologies

7.    Match devices to the user, task, environment, and compute model

8.    Help shape the future

9.    Don’t wait


Together with Bill Crounse, Senior Director, Worldwide Health at Microsoft, Intel recently authored a white paper that discusses collaborative workflows and information tools that better meet the demands of today's complex healthcare environments. It shares examples, insights and best practices from organizations that are using collaboration to deliver more coordinated, cost-effective care.


Read the paper: Collaborative Workflows, Coordinated Care: Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Healthcare.


What questions do you have about collaborative care?

An effective healthcare IT organisation cannot focus exclusively on technology alone. How you manage your IT function, in terms of critical organisational capabilities and management activities are just as important to enabling better patient care and improved business value outcomes.


Intel Corporation, Innovation Value Institute, HIMSS Analytics USA and HIMSS Analytics Europe have come together to create an industry leading programme for hospitals to enhance their IT organisational capabilities towards achieving better eHealth outcomes. The programme, called the Healthcare Maturity Model, enables hospitals to generate an understanding of how the maturity of their healthcare IT services is influenced by the maturity of their underlying IT organisational capabilities to deliver and run those IT services.


In the below video, I sat down with Jim Kenneally, Senior Researcher, Intel Labs, and Michael Porter, Senior Advisor, the Innovation Value Institute, for a brief discussion about the HIT Maturity Model Program and how you can strive for achieving and running a fully digitized, virtually paperless hospital environment.


What questions do you have? For more information on the Maturity Model program, email me at


Healthcare CIOs face many challenges today as they go through the transition from the old method of healthcare management to the new eHealth imperative driven by technology. When I go out into the field, one of the most common questions I hear from CIOs is, “what is the right blend of required IT capabilities for my hospital?”

For that very reason, Intel Corporation, Innovation Value Institute (IVI) and HIMSS Analytics Europe have come together to create a program for hospitals to enhance their IT strategy, underlying management capabilities and optimize outcomes. The program, called the Healthcare Maturity Model, combines proven roadmaps for CIOs to over-come healthcare IT adoption challenges.

The program is aimed at senior IT decision-makers, particularly executives with influence over the IT organization’s strategy. Participation involves group webinars, one-on-one interviews and a complete HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model survey.

As hospitals increase the level of clinical systems eHealth adoption, program participants will learn what IT capabilities need to be put in place, and what other hospitals who are further along in this journey have used. Learning from peers is one of the best ways to chart a course of action.

Upon completion of the program, the results will provide you with a quick and easy starting point to trigger senior level decisions about the need to develop identified IT capabilities and the benefits they can yield. Also, you will be able to prioritize the IT capability improvements that will most advance your hospital’s eHealth strategy.

Currently, Intel is looking for 10 U.S. hospitals to sponsor for this engagement. Interested? Send me an email at and let’s talk further.

Watch the below video for more information on this program. What questions do you have?


Primary care practices are at the heart of new, patient-centered care delivery models that promise to improve outcomes, while increasing the efficiency and sustainability of the healthcare system. Whether a practice wants to become part of an ACO, or simply improve care, it’s clear that today’s primary care physicians must deliver more team-oriented, prevention-focused care with tighter coordination across the continuum of care.


Electronic health records (EHRs) and other healthcare information tools are essential to accomplishing this shift. By successfully adopting and utilizing these tools, practices are better able to identify high-risk patients, provide them with more comprehensive care, assess outcomes, earn performance-based compensation, and share information securely both within and outside the practice.


New Pueblo Medicine (NPM), an independent practice of seven board-certified internal medicine physicians based in Tucson, Arizona, is a leader in this transformation. New Pueblo is thriving thanks to an ongoing commitment to improving care, responding to regulatory and compensation changes, and remaining viable as a small, independent practice.


New Pueblo has created new roles and responsibilities and engages patients in novel ways. The practice has deployed a range of healthcare IT solutions and joined in the formation of Arizona Connected Care, a physician-driven ACO. New Pueblo’s journey suggests valuable lessons both for practice leaders and for hospitals and health planners who want to work effectively with primary care practices in a fast-changing healthcare landscape.


Read this new white paper on New Pueblo’s adoption of health IT practices to learn how it took vital steps to implement EHRs, introduced important workflow changes, and realized better data and better results.

Despite national attention and the threat of Medicare penalties, many hospitals and health systems continue struggling to reduce hospital admission rates. A recent Dartmouth Atlas study found that average 30-day readmissions not only did not decline between 2004 and 2009 but in some areas of the United States actually rose.


New whitepaper on how to reduce hospital readmissions using technology support


Readmissions are a complex problem caused by factors ranging from psycho-social issues to fragmented care and lack of follow-up. Given an aging population, sicker patients, and a rising use of outpatient procedures, it’s not surprising that readmissions are difficult to reduce. But they are not impossible. Presbyterian Healthcare Services (PHS) shows that comprehensive efforts to coordinate care as patients move through the healthcare system, supported by healthcare information technologies and a commitment to the whole patient, can produce striking improvements. PHS’s readmissions rates are well below the national average, and the organization is driving them lower.


To see how PHS is reducing readmissions and using technology to support its strategic initiatives, read this new whitepaper authored by Intel along with Kathleen Davis, RN, MBA, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at PHS.


What are your thoughts on reducing readmission rates?

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