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Dr Blythe Adamson: Electronic Health Records Can Serve as an Invaluable Learning Tool

Using electronic health records of patients with cancer can provide a better understanding of which interventions and treatments are possible and can give patients the best outcomes, explained Blythe Adamson, PhD, MPH, principal quantitative scientist at Flatiron Health, in an interview for ASCO20 Virtual, this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
 


Using electronic health records of patients with cancer can provide a better understanding of which interventions and treatments are possible and can give patients the best outcomes, explained Blythe Adamson, PhD, MPH, principal quantitative scientist at Flatiron Health, in an interview for ASCO20 Virtual, this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Transcript:

In what areas of cancer care do you see electronic health records (EHRs) expanding into? Can the concept of an EHR be translated for use in other industries?

Many other industries are farther ahead of us than we are in health. And even in health, I think there are more applications of where we can use EHRs and learn from them in new ways that we haven't before. So one example, even within health, is during the COVID-19 pandemic right now we have an opportunity to be learning in real time from EHR data, both about the experience of COVID patients, what treatments might be working the best in hospitals, and where in the country we're seeing it. And these are the observational studies where oncology has been one of the leading spaces in unlocking the value of structured and unstructured data in the EHR. It's been wonderful to see how that's built a foundation so that in this emergency response, we know what's possible to do to rapidly learn in real time.

So in other industries, I would say banks are, just to me, an incredible leader in this space. I can go out of state and buy something really expensive and receive a text alert on my phone that says, “Hey, is this you or is this a fraudulent charge?” It's amazing the real-time information that's known about us in our real time or our electronic financial records that each of us have. And many of the valid concerns about privacy and ethical choices in ways that we want to protect electronic health records and patients, we see the banking industry has been able to solve many of those challenges with great technical advances and has ways to link information about individuals from different sources together. So I'm often looking towards the financial industry for inspiration and solutions for some of the technical challenges.

 
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