Data analytics helped Obama win

Farzad Mostashari, MD, the national health IT coordinator, said that data and analytics played a critical role in the campaign and re-election of President Barack Obama – mirroring the growing importance of data in healthcare.  

Data and analytics have transformed marketing, campaigning, and even baseball. “How is it possible for us to imagine a world where that power of data is not brought to bear on life and death, clinical care, on population health, and affirming the path that we are on with health IT and bringing data to life?” Mostashari said the morning after the election at the Nov. 7 meeting of the federal advisory Health IT Policy Committee.

[See also: Obama wins, future of ACA, HIT uncertain]

During the campaign, the analysis of surveys, polls and computer models drew considerable discussion about whether they were going to bear out their findings and be accurate.

“It was something of a relief that data matters, that science matters, that predictions can be based on evidence,” he said, adding that there was also “relief in seeing a truce in data.”

“We sometimes see this in our corner of the world, where the preponderance of the evidence, the 92 percent of studies, can be positive and show benefits, but if there is uncertainty and differences,” others can play up a narrative of opposing realities, Mostashari said.

The election outcome gives the administration more time to finish the job, building on the “incredible progress in the past four years on health IT.”

[See also: Q&A: Michael Grunwald on the 'no-brainer' of health IT and ARRA's lasting impact]

“In my view, it gives us the chance to continue to make strides, continue the essential thrust of the policies and the approaches. But it also affirms our responsibility to do the peoples’ work, to come together, Republicans and Democrats, to do the peoples’ work,” he said.

Mostashari cited the work of the policy committee, appointed by Republicans and Democrats, with stakeholders from patient advocates, doctors, hospitals, payers, researchers, and vendors, coming together to focus on challenges that can only be solved together and “committed to the painstaking work of building consensus.”

“Progress has always been through fits and starts. It has not always been a straight line, a smooth path. We need to keep reaching, keep working, keep fighting, and take the time to look afresh at what we’re doing,” he said.