Data is the driving force behind the advancements the healthcare system needs to thrive. Access to health-related data needs dramatic expansion, but siloed, unstructured, and inconsistent data threaten this goal. It’s time to eliminate the barriers to accurate, actionable data in order to connect the entire healthcare ecosystem.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has exposed the tenuous connections between public health and clinical settings, but it’s also demonstrated that when necessary, we can quickly strengthen those connections. The answer? Data.
The COVID-19 pandemic has solidified an emerging consensus around the need for industrywide data connectivity that can finally bring together the entire healthcare ecosystem from basic scientists, clinical researchers, hospitals, and outpatient settings through businesses, communities, and individual healthcare consumers.
The key to all change: complete access to data
This is the path to the powering of next-generation healthcare and the optimization of nearly every significant healthcare delivery improvement in the pipeline, including those we’ve highlighted in this 5 Forces for the Future series: an expansion of virtual care, the speeding of trustworthy evidence of the moment to clinicians, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven clinical surveillance, and helping train and manage a changing healthcare workforce.
Because data functions as the brain and central nervous system of all of those initiatives, we must first dramatically expand access to health-related data. That means going beyond interoperability between electronic health record (EHR) systems to incorporate data that exist far outside traditional inpatient and outpatient settings, such as digital devices that collect health information and the social determinants of health.