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How can we work together to improve the quality of health data?

There is so much potential for making better use of electronic health record data. This can be In ways that ensure the best quality care to individual patients, such as using decision support to guide clinicians to make the best care planning decisions and avoid prescribing drugs that might clash with existing medications. Health data can be analysed to help achieve the best outcomes for patients or to help identify unmet needs within patient populations. On a bigger scale, analysing large volumes of data can help accelerate research, to develop new medicines or vaccines, medical devices or innovations like artificial intelligence. These are just a few examples of many ways in which health data is already being used, but not enough!

Unfortunately quite a lot of clinical information can only be found in free text letters and reports, and not in a structured and coded form that would be more suitable for computerised analysis. Some healthcare organisations are still in a hybrid state between electronic and paper record systems, which means their electronic information is incomplete.

There is limited investment in electronic health record systems, almost no investment in training and supporting healthcare personnel to collect high-quality data and really no effective feedback to clinical teams about the quality of the data they create. Nobody seems to be responsible for making sure that we invest enough effort in having good health data to learn from.

How can we work together to treat health data more like a precious resource? I would love to have your feedback!