Health Informatics Discussion Forum

Whole Person Integrated Care

We recently presented a paper at the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference that describes Whole Person Integrated Care (WPIC). WPIC is a transformative healthcare delivery strategy that uses novel health IT to spur lasting improvements health-related services by addressing long-standing problems including inadequate patient engagement, wide care cost variations not associated quality, and insufficient evidence-based decision support. WPIC’s goal is to improve people's health and wellbeing by:

1. Integrating “well care” with “sick care,” whereby prevention of illness and dysfunction is coupled with the treatment of health problems 

2. Addressing the needs of the whole person, whereby care is focused on both mind and body (psychology and physiology) and mind-body interactions

3. Using health IT to translate data into information that builds knowledge that is used for evidence-based decision support, education, and continuous process improvement focused on efficient delivery of high-quality care.

Our paper (in publication) is available at this link and summarized at this link.

The health IT discussed in the paper is a Spreadsheet-based Software Framework (SSF) that we use to build apps that reimagine what spreadsheets can do. The SSF architecture is described in the technical appendix of the IEEE paper. It also describes how it supports “loosely coupled” social networks (LCNs) can use SSF to enable diverse groups of people to communicate (exchange information and transfer/share knowledge) and collaborate (work and learn together) through pre-established or ad hoc (impromptu) node-to-node network connections. The LCNs can use an e-mail communication architecture for an easy, low cost, and secure way to connect individuals anywhere in the world in networks that cross organizational and geopolitical boundaries. As such, they connect a greater variety of people than tightly coupled (narrow/closed) networks. These LCNs, in turn, increase innovation and creativity, promote collaborative model-building, and enable cross-national learning.

SSF apps provide new ways to take advantage of a spreadsheet’s power, flexibility, and simplicity. At the core of an SSF app are grids composed of millions of spreadsheet cells (as depicted in the image below). Each cell is a content container with a built-in computation engine that provides a rich set of capabilities for inputting, storing, modifying, calculating and displaying data (described below). SSF apps organize cells into different data models that: (a) harmonize disparate data for aggregation and integration using maps, (b) perform analytics and create charts using data arrays, and (c) enable data inputs and report outputs using lists and tables. These cells are embedded in worksheets, and the worksheets reside in workbooks. The workbooks also provide macros for process automation that includes data access, transformation, organization, storage, transmission, analysis, and rendering, as well as utilization of user forms and integration with third-party tools.

We are looking for help to provide the SSF through an open source license that supports community collaboration, without inhibiting the potential for commercial use. I welcome any questions and comments.

Thank you,
Dr. Steve Beller

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