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Connecting the Dots: Cambia Grove Hosts Deep Dive on Data Interoperability

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Interoperability & the Human Cost of Incomplete Data

Somewhere amid the hot flashes and chills, Christine Bechtel’s golfing buddy, Becky, lost her longtime taste for whiskey. Symptoms small enough to ignore, until one day Becky passed out on the kitchen floor. Chalk it up to menopause, her primary care provider said. See an OB-GYN. Ask a neurologist. Consult an endocrinologist.

Lacking the full picture of her health, the deep bench of specialists — with no way to easily share data between each other — was no match for Becky’s undiagnosed stage 4 lymphoma. But if you search hot flashes, loss of taste and her other symptoms in Google, lymphoma pops up. Becky’s story hammers home the unavoidably human element in healthcare’s data sharing problem: tragic and costly health outcomes.

Dataflow’s Watershed Moment

2019 marked a hallmark year for data exchange and interoperability, as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is set to lay additional foundational elements to create a better system, restructuring the flow of health data and drafting rules to bring health organizations, hospitals and doctors onto the same page.

To help consumers and healthcare stakeholders understand impending changes to the application of health data, Cambia Grove, a healthcare innovation center, hosted a two-day consumer-focused Interoperability Summit over the summer. The Seattle-based innovation hub featured keynotes from Susannah Fox, former Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS); Christine Bechtel, national patient advocate and Co-founder of X4 Health; and Aneesh Chopra, former CTO of the United States and president of CareJourney.

Maura Little, executive director of Cambia Grove, encouraged stakeholders to step back and examine the practical application of healthcare dataflows before rushing to implement value-based care and other initiatives fueled by free data exchange. She asked healthcare stakeholders in attendance, how we can design thoughtfully to prevent resurrecting the silos hampering care delivery today?

Expanding the Data Pipeline

Susannah Fox opened the conference by gauging the data literacy of the current health data system. She compared our knowledge of the health data landscape to 15th century world maps, asking, “What are we missing when we focus too closely on what is currently available? What treasures lie just beyond our view, in unexplored or restricted areas?”

Fox spoke of expanding our health data horizons and a new taxonomy of health data...

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