Lack of Quality Data is Hurting Patients

by | Jun 21, 2019

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Less data means less healthcare breakthroughs, which means less longevity. So let’s promote data sharing for healthcare benefits because sharing is caring.

Having high-quality healthcare records means improved and advanced insights for patient care, increased operational efficiency and, of course, possibly finding cures for diseases. Without this data, the effectiveness of health-related research declines.

Unfortunately, in the healthcare industry, the truth is that data is being siloed and not shared because it represents a liability even though healthcare organizations are experiencing a demand greater than ever to share their data with researchers for analytics.

Why is it difficult to access/share healthcare data?

There are several reasons why healthcare organizations do not engage in data sharing with health care researchers. Here are a few of them:

  • People are unfamiliar with new technology around de-identifying data, thus increasing the risk of identification.
  • Healthcare organizations are engaging in methods that produce high-risk datasets
  • Organizations are not able to be 100% confident in protecting privacy while sharing data
  • Healthcare organizations prefer to sell data over sharing data  (Source).

When dealing with sensitive PII and PHI, the need to balance the demand for quality data while still complying with privacy regulations poses a trade-off. Unfortunately, today 2 out of 3 people do not have confidence in their organization’s risk and compliance procedures’ ability to protect patient data (Source).

In healthcare research today, researchers are not able to acquire data due to information silos. “Healthcare big data silos make it nearly impossible for providers, pharmacies, and other stakeholders to work together for truly coordinated care”, Brent Clough, CEO of Trio Health states. “This siloed nature of healthcare prevents physicians, pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers and payers from accessing and interpreting important data sets, instead, encouraging each group to make decisions based upon a part of the information rather than the whole” (Source). To bust these silos down, researchers need what is known as “legislative directives” to allow data sharing. These directives not only encourage data sharing, but they also include security requirements to protect personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI) (Source).

If we break through all or most of these barriers, the possibilities of what we can do with all the financial, clinical, R&D, administration and operational data available are endless.

Why is this data useful?

In general, the most significant use of data is for primary analysis, especially quality assurance (QA). 72% of surveyed respondents claim that they use data for QA (Source). That translates well into the healthcare sector, as quality patient care

The quality of patient care is missing is many healthcare practices as a result of a lack of data. For example, in the United States, 5% of diagnoses are incorrect, and these diagnostic errors contribute to about 10% of patient deaths (Source). Naturally, opening up data for analytics, and therefore minimizing error, will benefit not only patients, but also healthcare professionals’ overall reputation and a nation’s economy.

Using healthcare analytics for robotics and AI will enable data-driven decision making, increased operations, decreased costs, and focused clinical effectiveness. Meanwhile, prospective advantages of data sharing in the health sector to enhance AI include:

  • Robotic exams and surgeries
  • Workflow optimization
  • Improved hospital supplies inventory control
  • Better health record organization.

In the near future, a mere routine doctor’s visit could be switched out for regular monitoring of a patient’s health status and digital consultations from their home.

Who is benefitting from this?

Everyone is benefitting from healthcare organizations sharing their data with researchers. Healthcare professionals are able to provide better service, researchers are able to use raw data to generate useful findings to both professionals and patients, patients are diagnosed efficiently and effectively, and so on.

For example, AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical company, has a long-term alliance with HealthCore, a health services research company, to conduct first-hand research and determine the most effective and cost-efficient treatments for certain chronic diseases. AstraZeneca aims to use HealthCore’s data, along with its own trial data, to  make informed financial and healthcare decisions (Source).

Another example of the benefits of data sharing can be seen in the diagnostic-realm of healthcare. A recent video by IBM and Medtronic shows their future intentions to have their insulin pumps work autonomously, regularly checking blood-glucose levels and injecting insulin when needed. This project aims to prevent disruption in the user’s daily life and make it as easy as possible to manage their disorder (Source).

Humber River Hospital in Canada is increasing the quality of service by spending more time face time with their patients by automating 80% of their backhand services (such as pharmacy, laundry, and food delivery) with robots and other technologies (Source).

Businesses can benefit off data sharing too. For example, last year, Apple partnered with 13 healthcare systems, such as John Hopkins, to download electronic health-related data onto devices (with consent) (Source).

Without this crucial healthcare research, innovation to medicine and disease management are at a standstill, hurting us all.
CryptoNumerics enables data sharing using state-of-the-art privacy techniques like secure multiparty computation. Our software allows healthcare organizations to satisfy privacy regulations and data residency restrictions while generating valuable insights. In other words, our software will help the healthcare field better serve patients. Visit us on our website to find out more.

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