Ochsner's Chris Belmont: Big data key to scheduling, telehealth efforts

At Ochsner Health System in New Orleans, big data is helping to connect physicians, patients and staff. Not only with "obvious" data, but data of little details that don't always come to the surface.

"We're trying to get the metadata underneath, and [see] what patients are connected to," Ochsner CIO Chris Belmont (pictured), said in an exclusive interview with FierceHealthIT.

For example, he said, data is helping the hospital manage its scheduling processes differently and more effectively. Keeping track of no-show patients allows Ochsner to try overbooking to get as many patients in and out as possible day-to-day.

"One way to manage your fleet is to look at it centrally and have good statistics around," Belmont said. "We can ask patients, 'Are your dates flexible? Would you be willing to see another physician or go to other locations?' It will allow us to modify our behavior."

Ochsner doesn't have a centralized scheduling system as if yet, according to Belmont, but that's something he said big data will help them to pursue.

"We'll get better at collecting the data," Belmont said. 

Big data also is helping the hospital to establish its telehealth efforts by producing a whole new set of analytics. That helps Ochsner to analyze the health of its entire patient population. Ochsner recently launched a telestroke program, according to Belmont, and the next move is to start monitoring patients from home after discharge.

"[Every new project] generates data points," Belmont said. "And in those is a care perspective."

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