Using Health Informatics to Build Tools That Better Serve Patients and Providers
We have more tools to sort and process information than ever before, but a lot of those tools have yet to be integrated into healthcare recordkeeping. For example, doctors may have to sift through years of health records to find relevant information about a patient’s current symptoms. It could take significant time for a doctor to read through each hospitalized patient’s chart and determine who needs to be seen first. The Health Information and Visualization Experience Lab (HIVE) is working to address challenges like these by bringing advances in information technology to patient care.
Led by Ari Pollack, MD, MSIM, who is a nephrologist and health informatician, our lab combines clinical experience with human-centered design practices and human-computer interaction methods. Our goals are to use the latest in software and design to make providing care easier, and to tailor treatment plans to what’s most important to patients and families.
Our Philosophy: Discovery-Driven Decision-Making
We use a process called discovery-driven decision-making to build tools that serve doctors and patients. With this approach:
- We start by collecting or identifying data including numbers, letters or even shapes or colors. Without context, this information is raw, unprocessed and has no inherent meaning. For example, a piece of data could be that a child received a value of 2 on a creatinine test, which measures a substance that kidneys filter from your body.
- Next, we convert data into information by processing, organizing and structuring the data to give it meaning and context. For example, a typical range for a creatinine test is 0.3 to 0.5, so a score of 2 is significantly above average for a child.
- We transform information into knowledge, or an understanding of something based on education or experience. A nephrologist likely knows that a child with a score of 2 may eventually need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- We then use that knowledge to inform decisions that help change that trajectory. For example, we might start the child on a blood pressure medication to delay or potentially even prevent the need for the child to start dialysis or receive a transplant.
- Our unique approach incorporates patient and family values into health-based decision-making to achieve the outcomes that are most important to that patient.
Ari H Pollack, MD, MSIM
Dr. Pollack is a pediatric nephrologist at Seattle Children’s and a principal investigator in the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. He is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington.
Pollack earned his MD from Tulane University and completed his pediatric residency at Seattle Children’s. He then became a pediatrician at a private practice and an informatics physician at Seattle Children’s, focusing on ambulatory computerized provider order entry and health information exchange, as well as electronic health record design.
Driven to improve health records for patients and doctors, Pollack earned a master’s degree in information management from the University of Washington. He also went on to complete a fellowship in nephrology at Seattle Children's. His research focuses on using human-centered design and human-computer interaction principles to support healthcare decision-making and improve patient outcomes.
To learn more about our projects or get involved with our work, please contact us at email@example.com.