Matthew Holt

JSK (national treasure) on data liquidity, and how it fits into Health 2.0

Given that she taught me most of what I know about health IT I don’t know why I ever need reminding about how great Jane Sarasohn-Kahn is at keeping her finger on the pulse of health care, and how consistently good is her one daily post on Health Populi.

Yesterday was no different. She gave a great overview of a new PWC study on data liquidity. You’re going to hear lots from me and others in the coming days about data liquidity, substitutability, intermingling of applications, and unplatforms. But what’s happening on the edges of health care IT in the Health 2.0 movement is a combination of tools, content and transaction data beginning to flow between applications. More and more this is both enabling better management of the consumer (and clinicians) workflow experience and better ways to aggregate these new data sources for clinical decisions and research.

On day Two of the Health 2.0 Conference next week we’ll be showing this both in our panel on Data Drives Decisions, but also on the Tools panel which will feature a series of inter-operable applications sharing data. And we’ll also be showing the big players (Google, Microsoft & WebMD) as they move their offerings to a world where other service providers can use their platform.

Truly exciting times, but Jane points out that there are lots of barriers. She calls the PWC report

a sober analysis of what stands between transactions and raw data, and the ultimate goal of using that information: clinical transformation that benefits people.

And those barriers all center around the workflow, payment structure and institutional inertia of our current health care establishment.

 the health industry en masse needs to shift the focus of data from transactions to quality and outcomes. This will require – surprise, surprise – incentives to, as PwC puts it, “induce all stakeholders to collect, report and use the data.”

2 replies »

  1. Substitutability is a nice word and certainly monolithic apps that want to “be everything to everybody” leave lots to be desired. The problem is that when you have too much interchange of moving parts then when something goes wrong (which it always does) then who owns the problem? This is where all the “finger pointing” starts between the vendors and the customer is always left holding the bag, usually having to “prove” to particular vendor that the problem lies with them.
    In addition, since nearly all “substitute vendors” will almost by definition be business associates, this expands the legal requirements placed upon the covered entity (CE). The more business associates (BA) the more BA contracts that are required, and with BAs now civilly and criminally liable under HITECH/HIPAA, CEs should expect these contractual negotiations to be significantly more than simply having BAs “signoff” on boilerplate agreements.
    The devil will be in striking the appropriate balance between the “number of cooks” in the software kitchen and the additional complexity that results because of it. There are simply no easy answers to health care’s wicked problem.