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Dan Antion

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Guest Post - Medical Records: Getting Smarter but not Intelligent

Jul 13, 2017 10:17:00 AM by Dan Antion

Unfortunately, I’ve had a few recent encounters with our healthcare system. As you would expect, I paid attention to the recordkeeping process. The spectrum ranged from paper to born-digital and has me thinking about my health records in a new way.

If you’re interested in the backstory, you can read it on my personal blog. Suffice it to say, last Friday, I needed to establish an account with a local hospital’s online health portal. My expectations were low. Healthcare professionals have always impressed me with their medical knowledge and talent, not so much with the way they embrace technology. In general, I was pleasantly surprised.

I wasn’t surprised that the results from test taken at 2:00 AM were not available at 1:00 PM. I was surprised that the results from an MRI I had in May, from a radiology clinic affiliated with this hospital, were available.

  1. I found it reassuring to know that I was being given access to same record that my providers use.
  2. I wondered what else is in there. For example, I can see the MRI report, but can my ENT see the images of my brain?
  3. I had the thought that I want to consume all my healthcare through this network – being able to access these records has marketing value.

Today, this technology serves the providers and is extended to me. The fact that I like having access to this information means I have to  add a non-medical attribute to my healthcare decision making process, or I have more work to do.

I have the option to add other caregivers to the system. I like the fact that I can grant them that permission, but I worry that they will have their own systems that they will want me to use. I worry that we’ll end up with medical Kayck/Trivago-like middle men linking various healthcare systems. I worry that that will inevitably expose my health records to more companies.

You see the problem? This is information about me but it's not my information.

This realization made me think of the AIIM ELC meeting I attended in June where Robert Kahn, a man who was instrumental in the development of the Internet, spoke about Distributed Digital-Object Services. He described what may be the end game for Intelligent Information Management – when information belongs to the person, process or device that collects it or whose condition it represents.

What if my medical information existed as a distributed object that had its own storage, knew who I was, who my medical providers were, who my health insurance company was, and what if these entities could access and update that record as necessary, and as permitted by me?

I can almost hear the gears turning in some of your heads – How would this work? How would it be secured? This would make a lot of today’s technology obsolete – I worked with distributed objects in the late 1990s. This can work.

Robert Kahn, a man who once said during an interview that: "…the development of the Internet was a learning experience..." says it will happen.

As we explored the future of Information Management at that ELC meeting, we discussed the ways cybersecurity, regulations and emerging and disruptive technologies like blockchain, AI and machine learning, will all play roles in that future. The summary paper will be available soon, and since it will include the experience from the European ELC, I can’t wait to see it.

About today's guest poster - Dan Antion is the Chairman of the AIIM Board of Directors. He has spent almost 40 years developing information management systems, in a wide variety of industries. For the past 30 years, he has been Vice President, Information Services for American Nuclear Insurers, where he is responsible for data, content, and systems development across a broad range of platforms. His opinions do not represent American Nuclear Insurers, AIIM or the AIIM Board of Directors.

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Topics: medical records, cip, data, healthcare, information professional, content management, ecm, records management

Guest Post - The Problem with Content

Jun 22, 2017 10:20:00 AM by Dan Antion

Content is data in context.”

Don’t quote me on that. I didn’t say it. I don’t know who said it. To be accurate, I should say that I don’t know who said it first. Lately, whenever I hear that statement, it’s in the form of “They say, content is data in context.”

“They.” I suppose they are the people who are good with content. My forty years of experience tell me that there aren’t many of them. I think I know why. It’s the ‘context’ thing.

A train leaves Washington, D.C. at 8:10 am, traveling to New Haven at 88 miles per hour...”

The dreaded word problem – that’s data in context.

The people who are good with content, want to tag that as: ‘travel’ ‘railroads’ ‘train’ ‘Washington’ ‘New Haven’ and probably ‘America’ and perhaps ‘Vermonter’ and ’56.’ The people who aren’t good with content, simply want to know when the train will arrive in New Haven.

They don’t like word problems.

They’ve never liked word problems and they were never good at separating the data from the relevant context – ‘relevant’ because Mr. Gadzooks, the Algebra teacher always included superfluous context to throw us off. You know, “John was boarding the train with two suitcases…” – and, let’s face it, in the real world, we just want the data and we don’t want to work for it.

The real world replaced the context of that statement with a timetable. Find your train. Look for Washington to see the departure time and then look for New Haven for the arrival time. Easy-peasy. Just like every spreadsheet in every organization. But, that was yesterday. Today, we have an app for that. Well, AMTRAK has an app, but so does the Metro North – which train are we on? Do we have that app? Is it up-to-date? Do we know how to use it?

It doesn’t matter. Apps are almost yesterday. Tomorrow, for many of us, today, we just ask Siri or Alexa or that Google girl “what time does the train get to New Haven?

But wait, that wouldn’t work.

Siri, Alexa and, what’s the Google person's name? Oh, right, she doesn’t have one. That doesn’t matter either; they can’t answer that question. They need more information. They need the date. They need to know that you’re traveling on AMTRAK and they actually need to know that your leaving from Washington, D.C. They need enough data to put you in context – to put you on the Vermonter, AMTRAK Train 56.

Sure, they might be able to use your location and determine that you’re in Washington, but they still need to know when you want to travel, because the Vermonter is one of several trains traveling between those two cities, each day. They need enough information to put you in context so they can extract the relevant data from a database.

Alexa, Siri, the Google woman, and every other information system we use won’t always need as much information from you in the future, but only if we do our jobs well.

As Information Professionals, a.k.a. content people, we need to realize the new ways the information we collect, curate and store is being used. We need to create/support easy, consistent and reliable ways to extract data from the information while continuing to meet the traditional information management requirements that have shaped our industry.

The role of information is becoming more important. The demands on information systems are becoming more critical. The expectations of relevance, accuracy and availability of information are growing. We need to make sure information can meet the challenge.

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About today's guest poster - Dan Antion is the Chairman of the AIIM Board of Directors. He has spent almost 40 years developing information management systems, in a wide variety of industries. For the past 30 years, he has been Vice President, Information Services for American Nuclear Insurers, where he is responsible for data, content, and systems development across a broad range of platforms. His opinions do not represent American Nuclear Insurers, AIIM or the AIIM Board of Directors.

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Topics: cip, data, information professional, content management, ecm

Sharing Success -- SharePoint and Lessons in Risk Management

Feb 6, 2017 10:47:00 AM by Dan Antion

[This is a guest post by AIIM Chair Dan Antion, a well-known commenter on content management  issues and trends.  In real life, Dan is Vice President of Information Services at American Nuclear Insurers.]

My title serves a dual purpose. First, I will be sharing a couple success stories at the upcoming AIIM Conference. Second, and more important, the solutions I will be talking about are an example of the kind of success-sharing we should all be considering.

I don’t want to spoil my presentation, but the message I will be delivering is that it’s time to stop thinking about storing information and to start thinking about putting that stored information to work.

For the past many years, I’ve been focused on creating better, easier and more reliable ways of gathering information. I learned early on that we had to give some incentives to people, if we wanted them to cooperate with out information gathering efforts. If we could improve a process that was still somewhat manual, for example, we could encourage people to put stuff in SharePoint. If we could move some of that content to SharePoint Online, making access easier and more dependable, we might further encourage people to use the platform. Still, the bulk of our energy was being spent on collecting, identifying and processing information on its way into permanent storage.

But, why were we storing it?

Of course, we all know the answer(s). Perhaps it was compliance. Perhaps it was to reduce potentially staggering eDiscovery costs many years down the road. Perhaps, as designed, it was to improve the process of creating, reviewing and delivering those documents. And, perhaps, those documents, combined with the data we’ve been collecting in our various relational databases, could help someone do their job.

Insurance companies have lots of data, but it’s typically organized to complete a task. We need to know enough about a facility to calculate a premium. We need to know enough about the people who own the facility to send them an invoice for that premium. We need to remember that they had insurance in case there is a claim in the future. All the standard stuff that insurance companies keep.

We also inspect these facilities. Our engineers plan, conduct and write lengthy reports about those inspections. Those reports tell a story about risk management and the risk we insure. Because we were good little information professionals, those reports are stored along with enough metadata to connect them to those customers, those premium and those claims – should they occur.

Now, we’ve realized that by combining that data and those documents, we can give our employees a much more complete picture of risk management and the risk we insure. We can tailor that story to match the needs of the person reading it. We can aggregate the composite information for an upper management type and we can drill down into the details for that engineer on the road to one of those inspections.

I’ve spent 40 years, keeping data in a set of high-tech silos, and I’ve spent over 15 years, gathering documents into a different set of silos. Come see my presentation at The AIIM Conference 2017 to hear a little more about my epiphany – the stuff in those silos need to be combined.

Click to register for The AIIM Conference 2017

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Topics: RISK, risk management, content management, ecm, sharepoint, AIIM17

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