Over the past two years, you and other safety net providers have shared with us your biggest obstacles in caring for your patients.

For some of you, it’s the difficulty coordinating care for patients as they move from one primary care doctor or specialist to another.

For others, it’s the troubling lack of data on the effectiveness of many new health care technologies.

For still others, it’s the frustration of trying to integrate those technologies with electronic medical records. An online “coaching” program that encourages diabetes patients to exercise and eat well between doctor’s visits could be a game-changer — but only if you can get the program to work seamlessly with your system.

Enter Raven, a platform we’ve developed to tackle these persistent barriers to effective health care —and fix them.  Raven was created to:

  • Solve the challenges of interoperability, which one expert has dubbed “the holy grail of health care.” Just as you can make calls from either a mobile phone or a landline with equal success, Raven will make it possible for machines and information systems in health care settings to share data no matter where they are.
  • Find out which third-party software actually works with your legacy Electronic Health Record (EHR) system
  • Understand how third-party apps fit into your clinical workflow
  • Search for other software solutions that could help you deliver better and more cost-effective care to your patients
  • Give you the opportunity to try out clinical analytics tracking software, online patient coaching programs and hundreds more innovative tools and see how they connect to your EHR.

Raven is a new initiative of the Center for Care Innovations, which has a long history of trust and collaboration in the safety net community.  As part of CCI’s tech hub, we have developed a solutions provider directory, a sandbox in which safety providers can test cutting-edge tools and apps, platforms for the five leading electronic health records and secure messaging for vendors.

Members of the safety net community have given me valuable support and recommendations throughout this project.  I treasure the input since it has made the platform better.

Thanks, too, to those of you in the health care solutions community.

As we’re getting ready to make this platform available to the safety net world, you may wonder: why the name “Raven”?

Scientists have found that ravens have amazing problem-solving abilities and cognitive powers – some on par with those of people.

For instance, humans have the foresight to plan for the future, but so do ravens. In a controlled academic study, ravens have been shown to be able to plan ahead for their next meal.

As it turned out, the birds are actually more skilled at such planning than human children.

In identical experiments comparing the foresight of ravens with four-year-olds, the birds came out on top.

The five birds were first offered a simple tool that allowed them to open a puzzle box and get a reward (i.e., food). The scientists then took away everything, and an hour later offered each bird the box-opening tool and some “distractor” objects. Even though no reward box was in sight, almost every raven snatched up the tool. Not only that, they remembered how to use it when the box mysteriously reappeared 17 hours later.

But the real clincher came when the ravens were offered an immediate reward (food), along with the tool and objects intended as distractions. To a bird, the ravens again chose the tool, showing more self-control than the toddlers.

The novel experiment suggests ravens “can indeed plan into the near future” based on behavioral principles rather than just simple trial-and-error learning, according to Andreas Nieder, a neuroscientist at the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

“A second, and maybe even more important aspect, is that the ravens’ planning abilities are not limited to specific everyday situations,” Nieder told reporters Ravens can apply their knowledge, he said, “to totally novel situations, solving problems even if they are not related to the usual daily business. [This] is a clear sign of mental flexibility and therefore intelligence.”

Being able to wait and think things over before acting is at the core of intelligence and probably explains why ravens are so smart.

Finally, did you know that a gathering of ravens is referred to as a conspiracy?

When I take all these features into account, it describes exactly what we are trying to accomplish on Raven.

  • The foresight to plan for future events
  • The flexibility to respond to totally novel situations
  • Innovation and agility
  • The notion that together we are a conspiracy – a conspiracy to solve our problems on our terms to take better care of our patients

Welcome to Raven!

Ray Pedden and the Raven Team
Center for Care Innovations