What do one of the most recognizable doctors in America and a rapidly growing electronic medical record (EMR) start-up have in common? Apparently, a commitment to public health and fascination with health data. This past weekend Medgadget was invited to observe Dr. Mehmet Oz, of The Dr. Oz Show, team up with Practice Fusion to screen a few hundred Philadelphians at the Temple University School of Medicine. Dozens of physicians and medical students were on hand to provide a “15-minute physical” consisting of BMI, blood pressure, and waist circumference measurements as well as lab tests including a lipid panel (HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) and blood glucose, made possible by Alere‘s mobile lab device, Cholestech LDX, which synced directly to Practice Fusion’s EMR. This allowed Practice Fusion to generate a real-time “report card” for Philadelphia, which Dr. Oz then presented to Mayor Michael Nutter in addition to taking the Mayor’s blood pressure (135/80) and waist circumference.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Practice Fusion as well as Dr. Oz and his medical unit’s clinical event director, Mike Hoaglin (pictured above with Dr. Oz), to ask them about the screening and what excites them about collecting city-wide data.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: The Philadelphia screening is one of a series of screenings that the Dr. Oz Show has done. What is the main purpose of doing these screenings?
Mike Hoaglin, The Dr. Oz Show: The Dr. Oz Show is all about removing barriers to treatment, and our key mission is patient empowerment. At this event we’re fostering a conversation about prevention at the community level and supporting that dialogue with some hard numbers. We aim to make it easy for people to do the right thing.
Medgadget: If I were getting a “15 Minute Physical,” what should I expect during and after the screening process?
Hoaglin: The paperless 15-minute physical tweaks a number of the bottlenecks in a typical doctor visit and enhances what you’d expect at a typical impersonal mass screening. We are collecting key health data before the patient even arrives to eliminate paper intake forms. After checking in for their appointment time, patients will have a few drops of blood taken. We’ll take a few vitals and perform our signature Dr. Oz anthropometric measurement: waist circumference, which can be an even better marker for health than BMI. Within 5 minutes the patient will have a sit-down with a doctor to discuss their results and takeaway an individual prevention strategy.
Medgadget: What is different about this particular screening, especially in terms of the incorporation of new technology?
Hoaglin: We’re letting the big data do a lot of the talking and leveraging the power of analytics. Working with Practice Fusion’s will allow us to have some realtime displays in addition to putting together an important report for the mayor. We’ll be able to geocode some of the structured health data points. Aggregating a day’s worth of patient data will tell a story that will be meaningful to the general population for months to years to come. By operating a paperless platform, our data are more fluid and at the ready yet more secure as well. This model also gives the patient a more personalized take-away.
Medgadget: Will the incorporation of Practice Fusion’s EMR be useful for longitudinal follow-up of the people being screened or epidemiological studies comparing the Philadelphia sample with samples from other cities?
Hoaglin: Patients will have access to their data via Practice Fusion’s PHR so that they can continue the discussion with their primary care doctors. We will be able to compare deidentified Philadelphia data to national averages and as we do more of these events, we’ll be able to compare certain data points between cities in a unique way.
Medgadget: Are there any trends in medical technology or innovation (e.g. quantified self, big data analytics) that you and Dr. Oz are particularly excited about?
Hoaglin: In general, much of the data out there remain untapped and hold a treasure trove of information that can really transform the way we think about health. We’re particularly excited about the potential of decoding unstructured data through natural language processing technology, where we can pull critical data elements from prose writing. Incorporating GIS technology into disease surveillance will allow the earlier intervention in devasting health crises as tell-tale symptoms are reported earlier.