In Healthcare, Time To Free The Data

Mark Braunstein | InformationWeek Healthcare | November 27, 2013

To justify optimism about healthcare IT, we need to free the data tied up in electronic health records -- and it is happening.

I've been accused of being an optimist, based on my initial InformationWeek Healthcare post. Since I've already pleaded guilty as charged, I feel obliged to support my position.

The next few posts will focus on what I feel are the some of the most significant innovation drivers unleashed by the US government's Electronic Health Record Certification and Meaningful Use programs. For the most part, these posts will have a common theme: freeing the data. It starts with the healthcare provider.

For decades, electronic records have usually been closed, proprietary systems. I'm pretty familiar with this, since I was involved in developing some of them. I can assuage my guilt a bit by pointing out that, in my last company, we tried to move data recorded by patients to the electronic records of their home care nurses and, from there, to the enterprise electronic record systems of the hospital, where they could be viewed by physicians. Unfortunately, physicians really weren't interested in seeing the data come back to them -- but that's an incentives issue better left for another column.