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Today InformationWeek announced that as the healthcare industry braces for proliferation of information, healthcare execs must stress the need to make data easy to interpret.

Big data, including the advent of genomic medicine, is altering how providers manage information, according to the chief executive of a major West Coast academic healthcare organization.

"Big data is going to change the rules of IT departments and beyond," said Thomas Jackiewicz, who was named senior VP and CEO of Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California at the beginning of 2012. "We have to become experts at managing data," he said.

As the price of genome sequencing comes down, data will proliferate. "The amount of data you get when you sequence a genome is enormous," said Jackiewicz, who formerly served as CEO of the University of California, San Diego, Health Sciences. He has also run healthcare business and financial operations at the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Columbia University Medical Center. "You have to have people who can interpret data, [and make it clinically relevant for physicians,"] he said in an address at the conference. "We can't expect every one of our clinicians to be a geneticist."

Vast quantities of real-time information also are starting to come from wireless monitoring devices that postoperative patients and those with chronic diseases are wearing at home and in their daily lives. "Wireless can change inpatient care, outpatient care, and home care," Jackiewicz said. "Patients are beginning to assume shared responsibility for their care," he added.

Jackiewicz predicted that academic medical centers will become hubs for information and analysis that community physicians will be able to tap when they're deciding on more personalized courses of treatment for cancer, for example, to draw from more resources than are available today. "An academic medical center can really bring expertise to bear," Jackiewicz said.

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