Dr. David Reis leads a team of hundreds who manage billions of bits of data
By Bob Woods
Photography by Tom Salyer
David W. Reis, Ph.D.
avid W. Reis, Ph.D., senior vice president, chief information and digital officer for the University of Miami, was named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of its top “Hospital and Health System CIOs to Know.” The first thing to know is that Reis has a world-class team comprised of hundreds of IT specialists across the University who help him manage billions of bits of data for UHealth, the Miller School and the overall University. We asked him for insights on how that happens.
What’s involved in collecting, analyzing and sharing data across the medical enterprise?
There are three elements. The first is clinical data, which includes data and information generated by providers and clinicians while treating and providing care for patients. The second is revenue cycle data, such as appointment scheduling, coding and billing. And third, we provide data science core services to the Miller School faculty for their research projects. A major focus is assisting in the processing and analyzing of imaging data, discrete clinical data and importantly, unstructured, context-rich text data such as notes.
How much has collecting and analyzing health and research data changed over your career?
Quite a bit. Over the past few years, the volume, veracity and the variety of health care data have grown massively. This massive growth has required more sophistication in how data is processed and analyzed to retrieve more precise insights and answers. We’re seeing more requests from researchers going beyond the traditional statistical tests and looking for deeper linkages across complex disparate datasets. For example, how do social determinants of need affect clinical outcomes, or how do we incorporate genomics data to identify more precise interventions, or how do we use personal device data to understand individual behaviors to assist in lifestyle management? We are now far beyond mathematical statistics and are taking dissimilar datasets and linking them to see if there are important connections between them.
How is artificial intelligence impacting your work and the IT department?
AI is triggering the next paradigm shift in IT departments, just like cloud did in 2015. AI will absolutely generate a need for entirely new IT skills and functions. The skills we will need three years from now, because of AI, will be different from skills we needed two years ago or even today. For example, skills in the responsible use of AI. We must ensure that the datasets used to train generative AI models are very broad and representative. Ethical use of AI is paramount in achieving the benefit that many believe will be ushered in by AI.