2012-02-24

This terminology goes one louder.

There has been considerable controversy about the merit and risk of upgrading the terminology that is used in the USA to bill for most healthcare transactions: ICD9 to ICD10. However, given some of the concerns about the adequacy of ICD10, many are now advocating that we skip ICD10 (with costs of millions of dollars per large hospital and tens of billions of dollars, nationwide) and immediately proceed "one louder" to ICD11. It is argued that the investment will then be far more durable and with a more favorable impact on cost and quality accounting in healthcare. Others argue that we should go for the bird in the hand. No doubt many librarians could opine knowledgeably about the costs and benefits of changing classification systems and Linnaeus would be impressed by how many now labor to classify diseases, drugs and procedures.

Hat tip: Ken Mandl

2012-02-16

Research by the numbers

What if you could mine the 10 billion medical facts across 6 million (anonymous) patients in five Harvard affiliated hospitals to ask an important and timely question? What are the other diseases or disorders associated with autism? How has the pharmacological treatment of inflammatory diseases changed over the last five years? Are there gender differences in prevalence of the infections in autoimmune diseases? How is the prevalence of diabetes mellitus changing in young adults?

Now, for the first time, if you are an eligible faculty member (or one of their fellows) in one of the five hospitals, you can now productively seek answers to these questions. The Shared Health Research Information Network (SHRINE) helps researchers overcome one of the greatest problems in population-based research: Compiling large groups of well-characterized patients. Eligible investigators may use the SHRINE web-based query tool to determine the aggregate total number of patients at participating hospitals who meet a given set of inclusion and exclusion criteria. The criteria are currently demographics, diagnoses, medications, and selected laboratory values. Because counts are aggregate, patient privacy is protected.

So, whether you are seeking a study cohort, preliminary studies for a grant proposal, or evaluating an epidemiological hypothesis, take this new tool for a spin and start translating this large mass of hard-won data into useful biomedical knowledge.

2012-02-10

Origin of The Theses

For those of you in the throes of defining your doctoral theses, there are some wise words from Enrico Coeira from UNSW which can help you move to the end game. Here is the relevant Twitter stream.