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, Healthcare organizations are experiencing a demand greater than ever, for them 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 unfamiliar with new technology around de-identifying data, thus increasing risk of identification.
  • Healthcare organizations 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 regulation poses a trade-off. Unfortunately and even today, 2 out of 3 people do not have confidence in their organization’s risk compliance to protect their patients’ individual data (Source).

In healthcare research today, researchers are not able to acquire data, due to information being siloed. “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 largest use for 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 in patient care is missing is many healthcare practices. As seen 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 will not only help patients’ health, but it will also boost healthcare professionals’ overall reputation and a nations’ economy.

One great use of health care analytics is robotic usage, which allows furthered data-driven decision making, increased operations, decreasing costs and focused clinical effectiveness. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is a great example of a promising future in healthcare. Prospective advantages of data sharing in the health sector to enhance A.I. 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 regularly monitoring a patient’s health status and consultations from their home itself.

Who is benefitting from this?

Everyone is benefitting from health care organizations sharing their data with researchers. Healthcare professionals are able to provide better service, researchers are able to use raw data to get 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 help them make informed financial and healthcare decisions (Source).

Another example of the benefits of data sharing to enhance healthcare, could be seen in the diagnosis part 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 was in hopes to prevent disruption in the user’s daily life and make it as easy as possible (Source).

Humber River Hospital in Canada is increasing the quality of service by spending more time front-hand 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, so that they could download electronic health-related data onto its devices, of course, with consent (Source).

Without this crucial healthcare research, innovation to medicine and disease management are at a standstill which hurts 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 allowing valuable insights in the healthcare field, to better serve patients. Visit us on our website to find out more.

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