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January 04, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Pandemic slows CQInsights growth but does not dampen Bruce Ramshaw’s passion for data

For anyone who has interacted very much with Bruce Ramshaw, his calm, thoughtful approach to any conversation belies a deep passion for all things related to improving patient care through the utilization of data.

“If you are not measuring value, you will not have a sustainable business,” the Physician, Scientist, and Author says of any enterprise, although the focus of his start-up – CQInsights Inc. – is on healthcare. “You can’t lower costs and improve outcomes without the appropriate measurement of value in context. This is a basic principle in systems science.”

Ramshaw, a Managing Partner at the start-up, puts an exclamation point on that belief, saying unequivocally, “If we had an appropriate data and analytics infrastructure in place (in healthcare), the (COVID-19) pandemic would likely be managed and resolved by now. We’re using the same scientific principles from 400 years ago (reductionist science). So, we have to use the same management strategies as we did with the plague- social distancing, personal protective equipment, etc.”

In the past year, he’s seen the impact of the novel coronavirus on healthcare delivery and patient outcomes as well as in his start-up.

We first met Ramshaw more than three years ago and spotlighted his efforts with CQInsights – CQI stands for clinical quality improvement – in this article in September 2017. We had not seen him in about a year until an event during “Innov865 Week,” and we followed-up to provide this update on CQInsights.

“We had a lot of things we were lining-up before the pandemic,” Ramshaw said. “If we can secure additional funding, I know we have a lot of customers ready to sign-on. Right now, we are trying to match resources with opportunities and have a few projects going.”

One of those projects is with Data Dissect. This Australian company has developed a Learning Healthcare System platform that utilizes machine learning to disrupt the clinical registry market by making clinical registries affordable and user-friendly.

Another project involves a client that secured U.S. Food and Drug Administration 510(k) clearance for a new hernia mesh indication, an area of specialty for Ramshaw. A third effort is to determine in what patient subpopulations a laparoscopic procedure has the most value and in what patients a less invasive endoscopic procedure has the most value for treating patients with acid-reflux disease.

Just a month or so before the pandemic created havoc in this country and across the globe, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had issued CQInsights’ first patent titled “Performing Predictive Patient Care Options that Improve Value Based on Historical Data.” It’s a utility patent focused on processing data to gain insights that are then shared in the company’s interactive data visualization tool named VALITY.

The pandemic has impacted CQInsights’ growth plans that would involve 10 to 20 pilot projects to learn how to automate “data pulls and cleansing” from what Ramshaw says are the many fragmented electronic medical record systems that currently store healthcare data. The CQInsights’ method frees up the data so it can be analyzed to determine the treatment that results in the best value for a patient and for the system as a whole.

“We need to focus on what (data) really matters,” Ramshaw says, emphasizing that healthcare has been designed as a reductionist science process. “All of the systems are designed into the fragments of care instead of being designed around each definable, whole patient process.”

While he continues to seek growth funding, Ramshaw is busy with a new blog named “Transforming Healthcare” that he launched in early May. There were 27 posts by early November. He’s also not lost his enthusiasm for the work of CQInsights and the impact it will have.

“I think we’re at the point of seeing it happen,” Ramshaw says of both the company and his advocacy for reimagining healthcare through the lens of systems and data science.

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