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Healthcare Data Leaders Must Work Together in the World Post-COVID-19

Besa Bauta, CDO at children’s charity MercyFirst, argues that better collaboration between health and social care data leaders will be needed to meet patient expectations in the post-pandemic ‘new normal’

Patient and employee expectations around data sharing and accessibility are soaring as a result of COVID-19, MercyFirst CDO Besa Bauta argues in this week’s Business of Data podcast episode.

The pandemic has thrown the benefits of free-flowing patient data between healthcare settings into stark relief. But the industry’s data leaders will need to collaborate more effectively to make this vision a reality.

“We can’t think, ‘I’m the best hospital and I have the best system,’ and not think about your neighbor’s hospital,” Dr Bauta argues. “Your patients are going to go from hospital to hospital and service to service.”

“Hospitals and other systems have to react to that consumer demand,” she adds. “So, each of us has to work together to ensure that all our systems are working together the way that they should.”

The current incompatibility between different Electronic Health Records and other healthcare data systems remains a key obstacle on the industry’s path to data maturity.

“There’s plenty of data,” Dr Bauta explains. “The problem is that it’s coming from all over the place.”

“We don’t have a complete picture because it’s fragmented in four different systems,” she continues. “That’s a challenge, and each time I’m in a meeting I’m finding that there’s new information somewhere else that we should be aware of.”

For this reason, she says breaking down data silos, cataloguing what data exists and determining what data is ‘mission-critical’ will remain top priorities for the sector’s data leaders going into 2021.

Key Takeaways

Demand for healthcare data is soaring. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the need for accurate and timely patient and operational data into stark relief
Healthcare data leaders must facilitate data sharing. Patients increasingly expect their data to flow seamlessly between healthcare settings, depending on where they’re being treated
Technical challenges are slowing progress. Poor systems interoperability and data silos are making it hard for CDOs to lay the foundations for their data strategies