Dr Harlan Krumholz on Barriers Preventing Healthcare From Using Data to Improve Care

August 1, 2018

The free flow of data needs to be an intrinsic part of the way we think about healthcare in this country, said Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, the Harold H. Hines Jr professor, Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

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The free flow of data needs to be an intrinsic part of the way we think about healthcare in this country, said Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM, the Harold H. Hines Jr professor, Medicine and Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and director, Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Transcript

What barriers are preventing healthcare from generating and using patient data to make care delivery more proactive and personalized?

One of the most important things is our ability to move data to leverage it in ways that give us smart organizations. Are we getting smarter with every interaction? Are we building an intelligent approach to how we organize our healthcare systems, how we deliver care, and how people make informed choices? Right now, data continues to be sequestered and fragmented, and it becomes hard to pull together. The focus on interoperability tends to focus on issues on the technical side, but really it happens to be more on the cultural side, on the proclivities of the data holders to sequester the data, hold on to it tight, see it as an asset, not wanting to see it combined for common good; they may not articulate it quite like that, but its holding people back.

An example of this, is the way in which people’s own data is handled. The law states very clearly, that people should have access to their digital data in the form they want digital data, including the entire spectrum, including images. But as an individual patient trying to get your data, you’ll experience barriers, difficulties, even costs that actually are counter to the federal laws. The idea here is that collaboration is important, and the problem is that collaboration seems be not quite in the DNA of our healthcare systems.

Now, they see themselves as competitive and want to see data as an asset, so we need to be able to change that mindset. We need to be able to be thinking that the free flow of data, securely and privately, so that we’re not violating any person’s rights, but to be able to help us understand better how to improve the healthcare system, how to help each individual, and how to empower them with their own data assets, needs to be an intrinsic part of the way we think about healthcare in this country.