Healthy data is essential to advances in digital health

Water for food cultivation, hygiene, and of course, consumption, is essential to health and well-being, and many of the public health advances of the past 150 years can be tied directly to advances in the provision of abundant, clean and healthy water.

Similarly, abundant, healthy data is essential to the digital health advances we all so confidently expect.

At the risk of overplaying a metaphor consider:

  • Gaps in the health record – breaks in the data supply – lead to misdiagnosis, over-testing and incorrect treatment.
  • Unconnected records – where sources are unable or unwilling to allow data to flow freely across the healthcare ecosystem – lead to poor transitions in care and make it difficult to measure both quality and effectiveness.
  • Insufficient data to power innovation, analytics and machine learning is essential to the next crop of healthcare diagnostic and therapeutic solutions.
  • Dirty data – incorrect, inaccurate or mismatched information – leads data scientists to wrong conclusions, just as contaminated water leads to poor health outcomes.

When building a new city, neighborhood or building, one of the earliest steps is installing plumbing infrastructure – from the water main to each individual connection. Digital health infrastructure is equally foundational – it requires a healthy data pipeline to combine, normalize and curate health information and deliver it across the health ecosystem for care coordination, analytics and machine learning.

The importance of a healthy data pipeline is why an organization like Manifest MedEx often describes itself as a data utility, powering better care and health innovation across California. Manifest MedEx aggregates claims and clinical data for more than 17 million people, essentially creating a clean data stream to deliver insights about individual citizens.

That abundant, healthy data stream also supports predictive analytics from HBI Solutions about larger populations, and over time, the goal is to extend the pipeline to entrepreneurs and startups to accelerate time to market for new innovations.

Ideally, healthy data will power a healthcare future that is completely unbounded. That is, a future where world-class care can be delivered virtually anywhere, where patients and providers collaborate in partnership with technology, where there are no blind spots in the record, and where innovators can continually create a new opportunities for better health.

For more information on healthy data as the foundation of the future of healthcare, visit Continue the conversation at the InterSystems booth #3301 or schedule a meeting at #HIMSS20.

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