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Federated Search in Healthcare

by | Oct 31, 2013 | Enterprise Search, Healthcare IT, Information Sharing | 0 comments

As we discussed in our previous blog, Federated Search can provide extreme benefits to organizations that have numerous databases and need to search for information across them. In today’s world of ever changing Healthcare technology, federated search can provide an extreme benefit. In this blog, we take a look at some of the different areas of healthcare that could receive extreme benefits by applying federated search to their enterprise systems:

Federated Search in a Public Health Setting

The demands of the public health worker is increasing at dramatic levels due to implementations of ICD-10, Meaningful Use, HIPPA, just to name a few.  Knowledge about these subjects along with regular day to day transmission of data is overwhelming the Public Health worker.  All this information is coming in several separate streams via web, email, CMS systems, blogs, wikis, etc. and all are being stored in separate data silos which force the information worker to search individual portals just to get the most relevant up-to date information.  This affects accuracy, increases time and efforts to solve or answer the simplest of questions. How better off would the organization be if a federated search tool indexed all the disparate systems and allowed the user to search all the content from one interface.

Private Practice

Dr. Karl Kochendorfer makes a compelling case for federated search in the healthcare industry. As a family physician and leader in the effort to connect healthcare workers to the information they need, Dr. Kochendorfer acknowledges what those of us in the federated search world already know – Google and the surface web contain so little of the critical information your doctor and his staff need to support important medical decision-making. Dr. Kochendorfer delivered a TEDX talk in April: “Seek and Ye Shall Find,” explaining the problem and solution:

Some highlights from the talk:

  1. There are 3 billion terabytes of information out there.
  1. There are 700,000 articles added to the medical literature every year.
  2. Information overload was described 140 years ago by a German surgeon: “It has become increasingly difficult to keep abreast of the reports which accumulate day after day … one suffocates through exposure to the massive body of rapidly growing information.”
  3. With better search tools, 275 million improved decisions could be made.
  4. Clinicians spend 1/3 of their time looking for information.

And, the most compelling reason to get federated search into healthcare is the sobering thought by Dr. Kochendorfer that doctors are now starting to use Wikipedia to get answers to their questions instead of the best evidence-based sources out there just because Wikipedia is so easy for them to use. Scary.

 

Departments of Health

State Health Centers are being bombarded with questions across an ever growing field of topics and the amount of time workers are spending looking for the most up-to-date information is increasing dramatically.  Unfortunately most all of the data they are looking for is stored in separate silos as with the information explosion it made common sense to store Infectious Diseases together but separate from Vital Statistics or questions related to Meaningful use and ICD-10.  To make matters worse, much of the latest information is being stored in email and never moved to a knowledge store.

Federal Health Agencies

In the setting of Federal Health Care Agencies the problems are being multiplied by a thousand fold and in the end our Public policy on Health in general is being created from the data submitted by clinicians to public health care centers, transmitted to State Health departments, and then forwarded to Agencies like CDC for analysis, ending at NIH or HHS for Policy writing.

So in summary each facet of Healthcare needs Federated Search to improve the overall quality of patient care and if left unattended the problem grows at terabyte levels on a hourly basis.

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