Ben Jones: Oncologists Still Face Challenges When Trying to Extract Data From EHRs

Ben Jones, vice president, Government Relations & Public Policy, McKesson Specialty Health, discusses the importance of capturing real-world evidence in electronic health records (EHRs) and challenges oncologists face when trying to obtain these data from EHRs.

How important is capturing real-world evidence in EHRs for improving the care of patients?
From a policy perspective, as all of these proposals come around, they have 1 central theme, and that is trying to drive towards value. Every policy maker wants to do 2 things: they want to increase coverage and reduce costs. That’s very difficult to do unless you can figure out how to drive efficiency and drive toward value. The only way to drive toward value is to make sure that we’ve got a good handle on patient data, and we see how we’re measuring outcomes. We see what’s working, we see what’s not working. We use all of these tools that we believe are driving value and we capture the data to make sure that’s actually the case. As that drive toward value continues, patient data is going to be very important.

Is this real-world evidence easily accessible currently, or are there challenges oncologists experience when trying to obtain these data from EHRs?
It’s still very difficult. Technology had progressed over the last decade by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, the more desire there is to catch data, sometimes, often times, that means an increased burden from the provider’s perspective. So, there still is that barrier. I think everybody recognizes the value in data, the need and the necessity to gather data and have data that you can trust, that is fully in-depth enough to be of value down the road. The problem then becomes do we have the right systems in place to make sure that burden is not so much that we’re reducing the value of data down the road?

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