Upgrades to data storage can improve interoperability and data access efforts

A recent survey finds data access and interoperability issues may be hindering value-based care implementation and accompanying research efforts, but it also shows that the return on investment for value-based care models has improved in the last two year

Jeff Rowe | May 11, 2018 12:00 am

As both the push for greater data interoperability and the desire for access to health data research purposes continues to intensify, an increasing number of providers are considering upgrading their organization’s data storage capacity as part of their move forward.

Indeed, in a recent survey from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), over 70 percent of healthcare financial executives point to the need to improve data interoperability in short order to ensure the success of their value-based care efforts.

“Interoperability has the challenge of collecting fragmented health data and exchanging the information across multiple systems,” said Roy Beveridge, MD, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer in an announcement of the survey’s release. “In addition, it must provide physicians access to comprehensible patient health information at the right time for informed decision making and better efficiencies.”

Currently, the survey found, many organizations simply don’t have these skills.  For example, thirty-five percent of respondents said they don’t have the tools or technology needed to assist in specialty or inpatient care to help control costs, and 55 percent anticipated a need for improved chronic care management in the next three years.

At last October’s Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum in Boston, Parsa Mirhaji, MD, the director of clinical research informatics at the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research in New York City, a partnership between Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, spoke about the critical need to move beyond siloed data. 

“It is not just having a large repository that you can put your hands on,” said Mirhaji. “You need to link to other sources of data, you need vocabularies, models, etc.”

Echoing Mirhaji’s contention, Wilson Tang, MD, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic, recently explained that while he sees great promise in designing treatment for individuals, success will depend on integrating existing systems with new and much larger data sets.

“Precision medicine relies largely on access to patients’ genomic information, medical records, and the other related biological or environmental factors causing disease,” said Tang. But “a large percentage of medical data remain in disparate systems and cannot be easily accessed or analyzed. The lack of an accessible, consolidated view of each patient’s diagnostic images, health records, and medical and genomic information can hinder physicians from making the most informed clinical decision.”

In releasing the recent survey, Humana’s Beveridge also noted, “Overcoming the interoperability barrier becomes even more important for treating patients with chronic conditions as they generally see multiple physicians and specialists.”

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