“An intelligent hospital is really based on a combination of existing technologies that are designed, set up, and integrated to share data back and forth, and ultimately to provide an enhanced level of clinical information, to enable diagnosis, to monitor treatment, and to provide metrics to see how your hospital is performing,” says Paul Frisch, Ph.D., chief of biomedical physics and engineering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. “It’s a convolution of a lot of things that have existed piecemeal for some while, and the use of new evolving technologies that are adding a layer of information on top about things that we couldn’t measure before.”

Today, the level of smart technology varies widely among hospitals. The technology typically evolves over time, as it did at Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, Ohio. “In 2009, we finished a strategic planning initiative, including discussions about what our major goals were from an IT perspective,” describes John Britton, vice president of information services at Fisher-Titus. “We realized we were way too fragmented: we had a lot of different places that clinicians had to put information and no one real source of truth, if you will.”

However, many hospitals experience a lot of fear of data driven technology. “Getting to Big Data doesn’t have to be scary,” mentions employees of Big Data Analytics firm Cliintel. “Let the hospitals stick to their core and let an outside provider measure everything they need.”

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