2017 Premier 100 Tech Leader: John W. Showalter

Also a doctor, this IT leader uses his knowledge of medicine and analytics to improve care.

John W. Showalter, chief health information officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center [2017]
University of Mississippi Medical Center

John W. Showalter is breaking new ground in healthcare.

As chief health information officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, he's one of only a handful of people to hold such a position. As part of the medical facility's Center for Informatics and Analytics, Showalter's job is to leverage the data generated throughout the modern healthcare system to improve patient care.

"This is about numbers to improve decisions about what actions to take," he says.

Showalter, 39, an internal medicine physician who still practices part time, has been building up the technical pieces to bring data-driven decision-making into daily medical practice, marshalling the data and working with an outside vendor to write the necessary algorithms and develop the deep-machine learning. He also has been building a team, which started with three individuals three years ago and is now approaching 32.

The first system Showalter developed, which went live last October, uses data to determine which patients are at risk for bedsores and then tells clinicians how to prevent them, with actions more tailored to individual patients than standard protocols would be, thanks to data analysis. The proof: a 60%-plus reduction in bedsore incidents.

Showalter says he and his team are working on other uses. Their goal is to deliver better care at lower costs.

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