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Bevey Miner: Why Structured Data Sharing Is Crucial in Digital Health Policy

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Bevey Miner, executive vice president of health care strategy and policy, Consensus Cloud Solutions, discusses the importance of incorporating structured data into digital health policy to improve the speed and efficiency of shared information across multiple health settings.

Moving away from unstructured data to structured data allows for information to be shared in a way that is meaningful and actionable, says Bevey Miner, executive vice president of health care strategy and policy, Consensus Cloud Solutions.

Transcript

As a health care technology leader, can you provide an overview of the current state of digital health policy and in what ways has recent policy development affected the digital health industry?

We have seen in 2023, such a huge year of rule-making, both proposed and final rule, coming out of CMS, ONC [Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology], and HHS. It’s not uncommon when you go into an election year, where there might be a potential change to the administration, where the current administration wants to get as much passed as possible. So, in the digital health area, there’s this very strong movement to go from unstructured data to structured data, which we all know we need to get to. Because structured data can be shared and consumed with meaningful types of actions.

When you do share structured data, you get actionable, insightful, and timely information. And that's where we all need to get to. But when you look at the predominance of where we are, even with paper faxing still being used as a method of communicating, and then we go up one more level to digital cloud faxing, which is our flagship product, we see huge volumes. We do 4 billion pages of health care faxes a year. But it's not structured, it’s unstructured.

So, the policy movement is trying to move to a prescribed standard of sharing data. And we all know we need to get there. Because we have not been operating that way, for the 20 years I've been in this industry, with any kind of data sharing standard. But it is plagued with many problems. Because even when you look at health equity, it's not tech equity. Not every care setting was given meaningful use money to get any HR [human resources] back over a decade ago.

So those care settings like home health, like assisted living, the substance abuse clinic, the birthing center, etc. They don't have the ability to consume and to release structured data. They are in many instances, just barely off their dial up fax machine.

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