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In antiquity, an oracle was means for people to receive wise and insightful counsel that was divinely inspired.

From Assyria, to Egypt to their more famous Greek counterparts, oracles were medium by which the gods spoke to people. For people of all civilizations interested in knowing the future or making the right decision, the oracle was a way to know the unknown.

In our modern culture, computers and technology have become the new oracles (to the point that a large software company adopted the very name). And with ever-increasing amounts of data, people want insight into that data to predict the future. Now, more than ever, they want their version of the Oracle of Delphi, a priestess who tells you what will happen in the future.

Technology companies have rushed to fulfill this ancient human need. Today, the new oracles are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning algorithms.

There’s usually a single phrase or concept that stands out for me at every event. The European eHealth Week 2017, held recently in Malta, is no exception.

The formal theme of the conference was “Data for Health: The Key to Personalised Sustainable Care,” and it is well aligned with the patient-centered, connected care InterSystems facilitates. But the phrase that caught both my eye, and my imagination, appears in a blueprint document published by the European Innovation Partnership for Active and Healthy Aging (EIP for AHA).

“Better care coordination, or ‘integrated care,’ does not evolve naturally” (emphasis is mine).

My wife is a nurse. My mother-in-law is a nurse. My stepdaughter is a nurse, and my rampant clumsiness means I have certainly been the recipient of good nursing care along the way. That’s why I was thrilled to join a technology company that employs—and cares about—so many nurses.

There’s a technological wave underway—a transition from electronic systems that merely consume and store energy to ones that can help to enable connected health, wellness and communication for patients. Nurses will play a key role in this digital transformation. Think of it as Nursing 2.0.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has designated 2017 as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.” Fittingly, this year’s National Nurses Week theme is “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit.” With this in mind, we asked a few of our InterSystems nurses about the role and impact of technology on their careers—and the promise it holds for patient care.

I’ve spent many years working with healthcare providers to implement and optimize care under bundled payment programs, beginning with diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) that bundled acute care service payments. I’ve managed care for three generations of family members, in two countries and five states. I’ve been through numerous elective and emergency procedures.

Yet I’ve never experienced truly coordinated care until just last week, when my husband had his hip replaced.

We did our part. We got recommendations from friends and caregivers. We checked credentials and the number of procedures done per year. We got a second opinion from another highly rated provider. And we made sure we had the proper referral from the primary care provider.

After that, the clinic and hospital took over, and the experience was superb.

Can a decades-old idea from the auto industry breathe new life into laboratory management?

Lean production, or simply “lean,” is a systematic method for eliminating waste and streamlining processes. It is an idea worth revisiting at a time when social and digital media are driving fundamental changes in healthcare. Patients are increasingly better informed of treatment options, and their expectations have never been higher.

lean-lab

Healthcare growth areas such as human genetic and molecular diagnostics, new techniques for screening and early disease detection, monitoring chronic conditions, point-of-care and personal device testing all put further pressure on traditional laboratories. Meanwhile, the number of stakeholders with an interest in these services