What does Weill Cornell Medical College CIO like and loathe about health IT startups?

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Thumbs up approvalOne of the coolest things about health IT companies is, with crucial insights from the facilities that are likely to use their technology, they can develop ways to solve vexing, critical problems hospitals face. Weill Cornell Medical College CIO Dr. Curtis L. Cole talked about one of those success stories at a panel breakfast assembled by New York City Health Business Leaders about Cornell University’s Cornell Tech.

He pointed out that it had helped Chicago-based Intelligent Medical Objects, a very successful health IT company, in its early years develop what would become its flagship product.

That was when the company was grappling with how to solve a big blindspot in electronic medical records. Physicians had to use terms that agreed with ICD-9 billing codes, but didn’t accurately reflect clinical terms and physicians struggled to convince electronic medical records that this needed to change. Weill Cornell Medical College helped Intelligent Medical Objects develop what would become its flagship product — a vocabulary tool map to the billing and SNOMED terminology. A HIStalk Q&A with IMO CEO Frank Naeymi-Rad talks about the technology and what it’s meant to the healthcare industry in greater depth.

When pressed by the audience what Weill Cornell got from its input Cole joked, “I can get a dinner out of them whenever they’re in town.” He hastened to add that it values its collaborative relationship with the company.

But with the kind of financial pressure hospitals face from the Affordable Care Act and with many looking to add revenue streams, it makes one wonder if it could all have happened differently.

After the panel dispersed Cole said that his biggest gripe is when health IT companies and startups want to use the medical college’s data to test their devices and products and then want the institution to pay for it.

Health IT startups approaching hospitals for what is often sensitive data is an issue that hospitals are having to deal with more and more. Some, like Geisinger Health System are finding ways to turn data gathered over several years from its own patient population into a service it can sell. In Geisinger’s case, it de-identifies and scrubs that data and sells it through its company Medmining.

 [Photo from Flickr user My Eye Sees]

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Stephanie Baum

By Stephanie Baum

Stephanie Baum is the East Coast Innovation Reporter for MedCityNews.com. She enjoys covering healthcare startups across health IT, drug development and medical devices and innovations deployed to improve medical care. She graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania and has worked across radio, print and video. She's written for The Christian Science Monitor, Dow Jones & Co. and United Business Media.
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