Hawaii is already among the national leaders in lots of health care metrics. Cost of care and expenditures on health care in the islands, on a per capita basis adjusted to a regional COLA scale, is incredibly low - much lower than other areas of the country with comparable costs of living and economic conditions. But a new study came out yesterday that hints at the benefits of widespread use of Electronic Medical Records. Stanford scientists did some data mining and spotted something really interesting - that people who take the two popular drugs paxil (anti-depressant) and pravachol (a cholesterol suppressant) experienced markedly higher blood sugar levels
. High blood sugar levels, aside from being a pre-cursor to diabetes, are linked to lots of other bad thing. They were able to make this discovery by mining anonymized Electronic Medical Records, something that would have been impossible in pre-EMR days 10 years ago (well, pre-widespread use). This implies that with EMR we can do lots of really heavy outcomes-based analysis without requiring clinical testing. Granted, you'll have to replicate in the lab but at least it gives us likely target areas. Hawaii hospitals already are ahead of the curve on EMR penetration and usage - we were blown away at how much better Kapiolani and Queens were compared to bigger, better funded Mainland hospitals. So I wonder if UH could put together some specific projects aimed at health care cost reductions and outcome improvements based on a similar premise - mining EMR data in the Islands.
On the Big Island,