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Digital Health Data Needs to Lead to Action and Change

Laura Joszt
The digital health panel at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference analyzed how the industry can move from collecting data to turning it into actionable and useful information.
The digital health panel at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference analyzed how the industry can move from collecting data to turning it into actionable and useful information.

Panelists Farzad Mostashari, MD, co-founder and CEO of Aledade; Jonathan Hirsch, MSci, founder and president of Syapse; Deborah Kilpatrick, PhD, CEO of Evidation Health; Owen Tripp, co-founder and CEO of Grand Rounds Health; and Lonny Reisman, MD, CEO of HealthReveal, discussed collecting and using digital health data, patient access to their own health data, and more.

The panelists all agreed that while the advent of technologies such as electronic health records, wearables, implantables, and more have provided more data, the problem is using that data in such a way that it actually improves a person’s health.

“At some point you have to change what’s actually happening,” Dr Mostashari said. “And more intelligence doesn’t necessarily lead to better health if we can’t cross that bridge between insight and behavior.”

Hirsch agreed that the ability to take action with the information collected from technology is crucial. Unfortunately, there are a lot of digital health companies that haven’t figured out that it’s all about “impacting clinical decision making,” he added.

Simply being able to collect billions of clinical data points has no meaning if nothing gets done with the information, Tripp said.

“The Grand Rounds design team thinks about: how do we turn that data into something that is simple that solves a little bit of a problem for somebody?” he said.

For example, instead of having to fill out the same “clipboard of death” of information when visiting a doctor’s office, the healthcare industry should be able to know those answers and auto-fill that information for the patient.

“That’s a little step, but that’s how you turn data … from just kind of having it and turning it into action,” he said.

Dr Kilpatrick pointed out that the increase in technology in healthcare has led to benefits in the area of controlled studies, which can be done much more rapidly. With digital interventions, they no longer have to go back to square 1, instead they can rapidly change the intervention and redeploy it.

“I think that speed allows us to do things as a healthcare system or as patients in a healthcare system in a fairly different way,” she said. “And it opens up the way we think about care and the episodic vs continuous based care.”

The panelists also discussed whether or not consumers should have more access and control over their own health information. Dr Mostashari is a proponent of individuals being able to do whatever they want with their information and grant proxy access to physicians, an accountable care organization, or whoever else they want.

Hirsch was a little more of a pessimist, where he believed people can’t necessarily be trusted to take ownership of health information and engage in their health. However, he did acknowledge that there are personal aspects—such as a mother who might want the results of a BRCA test linked to her child’s medical record—where people will want to take ownership.

Dr Mostashari touched on the transition in healthcare from volume to value and how the industry can navigate 2 very different business models simultaneously. He bluntly said that organizations will either get really good at delivery better healthcare and outcomes at lower costs or get involved with a monopoly.

“And I think there are whole lot of organizations that are not on a path to delivering better healthcare at lower costs and are not on a path to being able to have a credible monopoly and they’re going to die,” he said.

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