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Kaiser-Permanente Putting Big Data Behind Personalized Care

Philip Fasano

Philip Fasano (A. Kotok)

Philip Fasano, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Kaiser-Permanente, the California health care network and insurance provider, says the organization is making big data part of its plan to provide more personalized care to its 9 million members. Fasano made his remarks today at the mHealth + Telehealth World Congress meeting in Boston.

Fasano says the term “massive data” is probably more descriptive of Kaiser-Permanente’s plans to use capture the expanding volume of data available from its members, particularly from mobile devices. The much higher volume of data, he notes, makes it possible to analyze problems at levels not before possible.

Kaiser-Permanente, Fasano says, is building on its early work with electronic health records that gives the organization a sizeable base of data for its analytical programs. Add the ability of mobile devices to act as health monitors, and the data collected can provide a much more detailed picture of the patient. And that picture, he says, can tell health care providers more not only about the patient’s health care, but also about the patient’s life.

For a connected health strategy to be successful, says Fasano, means providers need to engage patients as individuals on their own terms. Patients can then manage their health on a self-service basis, in partnership with their doctors. Kaiser-Permanente developed a mobile app that’s been downloaded more than 1 million times, which he says has helped improve customer satisfaction.

Fasano notes that there are limits to the massive data strategy. One requirement is the need for actionable data for the patient, what he calls “just-in-time analytical tools” that provide answers when needed, then go away. He says Kaiser-Permanente can’t build enough data centers to store all of the data they collect in one place.

The integration of big data and connected health, says Fasano, is getting the attention of investors. Kaiser-Permanente has its own venture fund, which in the past used to fund hospital projects, but now is getting more involved in health IT. A big opportunity for investors, he says, is solutions for reducing waste in the health care system, what he calls a $500 billion target for innovation.

Fasano is the author of the book, Transforming Health Care: The Financial Impact of Technology, Electronic Tools and Data Mining (Wiley Finance), published in February 2013.

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