Healthcare Rocks: How Technology Is Helping to Drive Improved Outcomes

by | Oct 31, 2019 | Healthcare

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Healthcare organizations are tasked with improving in multiple areas—for example, quality, patient safety, patient outcomes, and reducing costs. The right technology can ignite change in these areas and help hospitals and health systems see the results they are looking for.

Showcasing those technologies—and those forward-thinking technologies that promise to deliver results in the future—was the focus of the Delaware Valley/New Jersey HIMSS “Healthcare Rocks” Fall Conference that I attended recently at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Here are some of the highlights.

PennMed: Implementing a next-gen data analytics platform

Penn Medicine, home of the United States’ first hospital (built in 1751), has six acute care hospitals and hundreds of outpatient facilities in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as a medical school (Perelman School of Medicine). At the conference, Jim Beinlich, PennMed’s chief data information officer, and Andre Jenkins, corporate director of information services, talked about their recent efforts to modernize the organization’s analytics infrastructure.

The organization had a traditional data store in place, which Beinlich says “was great in 2011, but not in 2019.” PennMed wanted an analytics platform that:

  • Would leverage the cloud
  • Would provide an integrated ecosystem for all of PennMed’s analytics applications
  • Allowed for complexity, but also velocity in providing services
  • Fulfilled the demand for self-service for all users—from analysts to executives
  • Provided the governance to define metrics and measures

As a result, PennMed created the Penn DataStore, which is cloud-based and brings together all of the institution’s data in a way that IT can then pull the data to create various analytics applications that serve the needs of the varied user base.

Part of the Penn DataStore includes PennDiver. This technology (a rebranded version of Dimensional Insight’s Diver Platform) includes all of the organization’s service line metrics, displaying them on an executive dashboard. It also provides the standardized metrics and measures, and it includes a data catalog that shows the definitions of these metrics so decision-makers are always on the same page.

It was fascinating to see how PennMed rethought its entire analytics infrastructure to create something that can tie together the myriad sources of data across the ecosystem and deliver it quickly and in a usable form to its different types of users. This is what it means to truly create a data-driven culture!

Issues on the minds of CIOs

The conference included a CIO panel with several CIOs from the Pennsylvania/New Jersey region, including:

  • Randy Gaboriault of ChristianaCare
  • Kisha Hawthorne of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Tom Pacek of Inspira
  • Michael Restuccia of PennMed

Topics that are top of mind for these CIOs:

Photo of a giant guitar at Atlanta's Hard Rock Casino

The DV/NJ HIMSS Fall Conference was held at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City, NJ

Scalability: How do we deploy technology that can quickly scale up to meet the user needs and demands?

Simplifying architecture: At the same time, how do we prevent technology complexity that inhibits growth and consumes too many resources?

EHRs: How can we use the data in our EHRs to drive patient outcomes, and what is the best technology to help us “unlock” that data?

FHIR/APIs: How can we enable greater data sharing?

Telehealth: How can this technology best complement our current offerings, and what do we need to do from a technological standpoint to deliver that?

Healthcare market disruptors

I also attended a couple of sessions that focused on those technologies that are disrupting healthcare. One session focused on the Internet of Things (IoT) and how Hunterdon Medical Center in New Jersey is using IoT technology to improve patient safety by monitoring the temperature and humidity of vaccines. As a result of the monitoring, the organization was also able to save money by not having to discard vaccines because they were at the wrong temperature.

Another session focused on the innovations at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Children’s hospitals have particular unique challenges. This means the technology they implement can often be a little different than what a traditional hospital would use. CHOP is currently using technologies such as the Nao Robot, which provides children with diversions as they undergo treatment. In addition, the organization is using AI-based chatbots in scheduling. This helps to decrease the no-show rates and provide ease in scheduling.


The Delaware Valley/New Jersey Healthcare Rocks Fall Conference provided an interesting mix of sessions of healthcare providers talking about current and future technologies. What was clear from all of these sessions is that data is at the heart of so many of the challenges providers face. How do we unlock the myriad of data within hospitals? And how can we make better decisions from that data that will help move the needle on patient care?

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Kathy Sucich
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