P&S Journal: Winter 1995, Vol.15, No.1
Clinical Information Age Begins New Era
The New York State Science and Technology Foundation has committed $1 million to Columbia in 1994-95 to collaborate with industry on the production of high performance information systems for the health care marketplace through the newly certified New York State Center for Advanced Technology (CAT) in High Performance Computing and Communications in Health Care.
The partnership of Columbia and the state through CAT is aimed at generating business development in the rapidly evolving health information management field.
One CAT project is an innovative computerized medical data management system. The Clinical Information System (CIS) is a project of Columbia and New York-based IBM and is attracting potential buyers from across the country.
This is a new programmatic focus of CAT, which has existed since 1983. The CAT in High Performance Computing and Communications in Health Care represents a stronger focus of the center's original research mission in computers and information systems.
The Columbia/IBM system is the first step in eliminating the paper-based medical record. The system is in use throughout CPMC and is being marketed by IBM through demonstrations at the medical center.
Restructuring the way medicine is practiced will depend heavily on information-based technology like CIS. Columbia's CAT will collaborate with commercial partners to develop products to improve the quality of care and provide more efficient health care delivery by reducing administrative paperwork, enhancing speed of patient information input, increasing automation in the delivery of health care, and establishing linkages to nationwide information resources and expertise.
A special feature of the CIS that takes advantage of structured patient data is the computer-generated alert. Using the Arden Syntax, a standard computer language developed in part at CPMC, clinicians have created logic modules that incorporate medical knowledge. These modules permit the CIS to monitor data in the patient data base and notify clinicians with warnings and advice specific for a particular patient. For example, if the results of laboratory tests demonstrate worsening kidney function, the clinician would be advised to evaluate the possible causes.
"In 1992 New York State firms garnered only 1 percent of the total $2.5 billion generated by health care software vendors," says Dr. Paul D. Clayton, director of Columbia's CAT and director of the P&S Center for Medical Informatics. "It is our goal to double New York's share of this revenue in five years and to double it again in 10 years." Accomplishment of the CAT's goals would create annual incremental revenue for New York firms of $214 million and 1,001 jobs within 10 years.
The CAT will be under the direction of Dr. Clayton and Dr. Zvi Galil, associate director and chairman of computer science at Columbia's School of Engineering and Applied Science.