Doctors call for increased use of IT

A Toronto conference on health informatics hears experts tout the use of information technology to improve patient outcomes

Enterprises aren’t the only organizations that suffer from silos of data. So does the medical community, a Toronto health informatics conference has been told.

Dr. Bruce Friedman, professor emeritus of pathology at the University of Michigan medical school, said that for too long pathologists– who look at patient tissues through microscopes, and radiologists – who look at x-rays – have operated as separate, sometimes undigitized disciplines.

Their reports go separately to clinicians, who have to make a diagnosis.

But, Friedman said, it’s time, to bring the disciplines together through information technology to create a single “super diagnosis” to make it easier for doctors.

His speech on Thursday at the opening of the two-day Advances in Health Informatics Conference was one of a number of presentations by doctors and researchers on how IT can improve patient outcomes.

The conference led off with former Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, now chief executive officer and assistant professor of surgery at Ontario’s Southlake Regional Health Centre, saying health informatics “is truly the disruptive, revolutionary change that will change the way we deliver health care.”

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