Healthcare stakeholders agree -- at least in theory -- that a systems-thinking approach to healthcare is necessary and beneficial for the entire industry. Our research shows that almost three quarters of all industry stakeholders surveyed believe that cross-industry collaborations bring opportunity rather than challenge to their organizations.
But their actual transition to a more collaborative system-oriented model is slow, and laden with obstacles. One of the biggest challenges they face is around access to data. The lack of standardization and investment into integration models is preventing all healthcare players from making informed decisions in the timeliest manner.
This lack of data integration is an albatross for the industry, adding unnecessary expense, risk and inefficiency to every aspect of the business model. And it won’t be easy to overcome.
Industry members today lack the skills, technology, or business processes to overcome their data challenges. In our recent survey, more than 70% of all stakeholders said they believe transparency around data sources and information-sharing across stakeholder groups is important. Yet a large percentage of them are unwilling to be transparent themselves.
And while seventy-five percent of them agree that it is important for different data sources from different stakeholders to be linked together to better inform decisions, roughly half feel they have neither the tools or nor expertise to optimize use of these data sets.
Fortunately, this gap is slowly beginning to close.
Organizations like the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT are working to provide the industry with a means for sharable electronic data, and spearheading development of standards organizations, such as Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), HL7, and many others.
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will also help. Once people begin actually paying for outcomes, which is dictated through the ACA, the incentives will be in place to align around a better model for data integration. As we begin to incent their use by focusing on outcomes that can be enabled by these data sets, we will make progress toward a more integrated data-driven environment.