One year of COVID-19: A world of siloed data and its implications on modern healthcare
It’s now March of 2021. Just one year ago, our industry–the healthcare industry–was preparing for the biggest trade show of the year. Hospital and payer executives were packing their bags for Orlando, even as warnings about the virus spread just as quickly as the virus itself. The rest is history.
Looking back, there’s no denying that healthcare has changed forever in the past twelve months. While the vaccine rollout promises to fix much of what’s broken in the coming months, there are many facets of the healthcare world that will never revert to the pre-pandemic ways. At Verinovum, we live and breathe clinical data. We’ve learned throughout the pandemic that when it comes to clinical data and leveraging it for the best health outcomes, we need to create systems and partnerships, not silos in the post-COVID healthcare ecosystem.
The global health response to the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be the fastest in human history, and that’s something to be proud of! We’ve also witnessed a new commitment to global solidarity unfold. The pandemic has taught our industry a lot of difficult lessons. Our collective understanding of the vital role that high quality clinical data plays has changed. Data curation is necessary, not only as a field of study in information science, but also in practice.
“Topics that are central to data curation, such as the development and application of data and metadata standards, the organization of data for discovery and re‐use, and open science and data sharing have taken on new urgency. Meanwhile, activities that were peripheral to what some consider the scope of the field—topics such as peer review, research evaluation, research infrastructure development, privacy/security, to name a few—are now clearly core to the use of data in managing COVID‐19.” – Kalpana Shankar
Unfortunately, throughout the pandemic, data management and data quality have presented challenges. A Healthcare IT News article reported that data collection efforts have been largely manual, leading to incomplete data that’s often missing key demographic information, and that although all of healthcare is using EMRs/EHRs, the data they contain isn’t generally being used.
In an impressive show of altruism, several organizations threw their proverbial hats in the ring to try to help, albeit in siloed efforts. The challenge of having one cohesive plan of attack remains unsolved. Some of the initiatives launched over the past year include:
- A “Health Atlas” built by UCSF designed to collate information from the media and publicly available sources
- A “COVID-19 Outbreak Tracker” offered by Cotiviti
- A National Response Portal developed by SADA Systems and HCA
- An online research environment launched by Change Healthcare for COVID-19 analytic data sets
- A contract tracing database launched by SalesForce
While organizations have spent the past twelve months trying to get a handle on data and leverage it for the greater good, efforts remain disparate and siloed. It reflects the broader trends in healthcare as a whole–that despite a palpable need and desire for interoperability and portable member data, we as an industry simply aren’t there…yet.
As we reflect on a year of unexpected challenges, it has never been more evident that data must be standardized and usable. The industry frequently refers to operations and data as being “siloed,” and yet the challenges to unify remain. We must begin to rely on well-built systems and procedures to make sense of the data and put it to good use as we move beyond COVID-19.
Verinovum cleans, curates, and enriches clinical data and can provide cohort identification to support timely and appropriate targeting. Our roster and attribution logic are appended to the curated data asset to identify and report on your patient population that is at greatest risk for complications tied to COVID-19.
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