Philips is Driving the Future of Healthcare with Data | Data & Me
“We are creating tools that help clinicians transform data into actionable insights.” — Minnan Xu illuminates the work of Philips Healthcare in the video above.
The minute you are checked into the hospital, a massive data collection exercise begins. Doctors and nurses look at an array of vitals from blood pressure to heart rate, coupled with imagery such as MRIs or CT-scans. Each piece of data represents a piece of the puzzle that, if put together correctly, reveals the ailment and informs the treatment.
It’s a mountain of information. And until recently, clinicians depended on written records, their own experience and evaluation ability to solve acute care challenges. But Philips Healthcare is changing that through the development of informatics tools that will bring new insight to patient care—in the hospital and at home.
Making Mountains of Data Actionable
Minnan Xu is a Principle Scientist at Philips Healthcare in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She leads a team of researchers whose mission is to ensure data can be accurately collected and intelligently used in healthcare settings such as hospitals and emergency rooms, where quick treatment decisions have to be made every day.
“Bedside monitors take vital signs such as heart rate & blood pressure. Imaging equipment is used for diagnosis. Ventilators help the patients breathe. Infusion pumps for medications. All of these devices are producing large quantities of data,” explains Xu.
“All of this data is just really tough for clinicians to assimilate consistently day in and day out, hour after hour, even smoothly transferring during shift changes. Through all of this, and most importantly, they need to be able to identify when patients need their help.”
Corralling and turning all that information into something actionable for clinicians is key. But it’s not an easy task.
- PREPPING THE DATA:Different machines produce vastly different types of data, let alone patient histories or manual entries which can widely vary. Xu and team must consolidate and clean the data so that it can be viewed, sorted and artificial intelligence algorithms can be run.
- PRESENTING THE DATA:Xu and her team work closely with clinicians to evaluate the best way to present the information so that it compliments and enhances their workflow rather than interrupts or disrupts it.
- INTEGRATING SYSTEMS:A feedback loops ensures the data team is constantly informing the Philips product development team and vice versa. This way product updates and innovations are answering both data requirements and clinician needs.
- PUTTING THE DATA INTO ACTION:Xu’s team provides dashboards to the clinicians that organize the data in views that are most helpful to clinicians. For example, a doctor can view the same array of data by cardio versus endocrine system.
Unlocking the Power of Healthcare Data
Other very important factors weigh on Xu and her team, such as the critical nature of acute care settings. These are emergency rooms, operating rooms and intensive care settings where very sick patients are experiencing life or death moments in often rapidly changing conditions.
Add to this the intense, busy nature of these environments. And the fact that patients often present with more than one issue in acute cases, making it even harder to accurately diagnose under heavy time constraints.
But if clinicians had tools that could read and compare a patient’s data set to help predict a patients course, and identify deteriorating circumstances before it reached a critical stage, imagine the lives saved.
“We call it the Early Deterioration Index at Philips. Our ultimate goal is to create tools to help clinicians anticipate events instead of defaulting to a reactive mode of care,” says Xu.
Bringing the Care Continuum Home
Beyond the hospital, Philips has large ambitions for healthcare. They call it the Care Continuum and its ultimate goal is ensure any patient at risk is able to be monitored in a non-invasive, on-going way that would alert their doctors of any issues before they become critical.
Philips products, tech and data teams are all working together to realize this vision. “Linking home to hospital and back to the home again—there are a lot of innovations that we’re working on,” offers Xu. “The future may mean fewer patients going to the hospital, reducing the overall cost of our healthcare system.”
Here’s three more ways healthcare is benefiting from data and data-driven technologies: