David Lareau is CEO of Medicomp Systems of Chantilly, VA.

Dave Lareau

Sir William Osler, author of the widely publicized book The Principles and Practice of Medicine, is frequently called the “father of modern medicine” and one of the “greatest diagnosticians ever to wield a stethoscope.” Despite his legendary diagnostic skills, Osler would likely have agreed with me that diagnosing a patient with multiple problems is one of the most challenging tasks for physicians.

Sometimes coming up with the right diagnosis is relatively easy. A physician might not have a hard time diagnosing a patient with a broken wrist after a quick physical exam and an X-ray. But, a physician who is diagnosing a patient who complains of heart palpitations and is nauseous and septic may need to investigate a bit more deeply into the patient’s medical history to determine if and how the multiple complaints are clinically related.

Wading through data

Today physicians have more clinical data available to them than ever, thanks to the proliferation and sharing of electronic medical records. Medical histories are often shared electronically between providers, but often records are in a format not easily integrated into a patient’s existing record. When a physician attempts to understand the history of a patient’s present illness, she may have to wade through multiple disparate records to decipher what pieces are clinically relevant for today’s complaint based on the available data, on her examination and previous knowledge of the patient, her medical training, and her experiential history treating other patients.

Even the great diagnostician Dr. Osler might find it difficult to retrieve and review all the clinically relevant data in a timely manner. But, what if a physician could simply hit an easy button and have his computer find and organize all the clinically-relevant data? What if the computer reviewed a patient’s history from the EMR and all incoming records, then scoured clinical information curated over the last 40 years from highly-regarded publications such as MEDLINE; that is, studies and reviews that have been individually evaluated by physicians and assigned clinical relevancy scores for different medical conditions based on the clinical judgement of expert physicians?

Hitting the easy button

Quippe is that easy button. Quippe is known for its efficient documentation tools but its real value for diagnosticians may be in the clinical data relevancy engine that includes 100 million clinically computable links between medical concepts and standard nomenclatures such as SNOMED-CT, RxNorm, LOINC, ICD-10 and others. Over the last 40 years, more than 50 physicians and clinical editors have collaborated to create an engine that looks at vast amounts of clinical information and determines how disparate concepts are related. The clinical data relevancy engine is what transforms EHRs, incoming clinical records, and libraries of clinical concepts into a one-button source for clinical information. Relevant disease information is logically linked – including seemingly disparate data and concepts that Medicomp’s team of experienced clinical scientists have identified as clinically related.

Because we can’t all be Dr. Oslers

We have easy buttons for other complex tasks, from verifying our checking account balances to identifying all the possible ways to travel from New York to Boston. Isn’t it time we gave physicians an easy button, too?