Buried in data: A doctor’s lament
Doctors are suffering from data overload.
More than 7 in 10 said they have more data than they can handle, according to a new Harris Poll for consulting firm ZS.
That lament comes as patient portals become more ubiquitous and patients increasingly send data from apps and wearables to providers.
The same share of U.S. providers also said they don’t know what to do with all the facts and figures, which can come from health trackers, provider networks and electronic health records systems.
“There are things coming from so many directions,” Bill Coyle, report author and global biopharma head at ZS, told Ben. “That’s where that overload or overwhelming feeling is coming from.”
Providers often don’t have standards or protocols to help them make sense of it all, said co-author Maria Whitman, ZS’s managing partner of global commercialization strategy and solutions.
Providers complaining about the flood of health data while they complain about data silos seems contradictory.
But the type of data at play is different, Whitman said, comparing traditional medical records to the sea of new data sources.
“There’s this part of interoperability which is just saying, ‘I live in the Philadelphia area, my primary is at Penn, my specialist is at Jefferson. Can they connect the dots or do I have to run my records back and forth?’” Whitman said. “The overwhelming part is as I start looking ahead to a lot more remote monitoring.”
The survey of 500 U.S. primary care providers also found that:
— Fifty-seven percent said technology flaws are a barrier to having better-connected health care.
— An overwhelming majority (86 percent) said a lack of reimbursement for connecting health care is a hurdle.
— More than 4 in 5 said consent forms are a hassle.
The global view: U.S. providers aren’t alone in their frustration with the deluge of data, but some other countries’ providers reported fewer concerns.
The survey also covered primary care providers in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, China and Japan and found that the U.S. had the second-highest rate of providers who said reimbursement was a hurdle to connected health care.
Less than half of providers in the U.K. and Sweden reported reimbursement problems, while the vast majority of providers in the other four countries did.
In the U.S., providers may find it more difficult to get paid for the time they spend collating and synthesizing patient data, given our fee-for-service system, the authors said.
This is where we explore the ideas and innovators shaping health care.
UnitedHealthcare is launching a rewards program that allows members to earn up to $1,000 a year by wearing devices like smartwatches and hitting activity goals. Would you do it?
Share any thoughts, news, tips and feedback with Ben Leonard at [email protected], Ruth Reader at [email protected], Carmen Paun at [email protected] or Erin Schumaker at [email protected].
Send tips securely through SecureDrop, Signal, Telegram or WhatsApp.
Today on our
Senators from both parties are taking a closer look at how telehealth companies share user data with advertising platforms like Meta, Google, TikTok, Bing and Snap.
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) sent letters to telehealth firms Cerebral, Monument and Workit Health asking them to reveal what data they collect on users, which entities they share patient data with and how they plan to protect user data.
“Telehealth — an industry valued at over $30 billion — has become a popular and effective way for many Americans to receive care,” they wrote. “This access should not come at the cost of exposing personal and identifiable information to the world’s largest advertising ecosystems.”
What’s next: Lawmakers, as well as regulatory agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission, are considering how to better regulate the way digital personal health data is collected, shared and used by corporations. New legislative and regulatory proposals are likely.
The problem-plagued rollout of a new electronic health records system for the Veterans Health Administration is back on track, a lobbyist for the contractor told Ben.
Oracle Executive Vice President Ken Glueck said in an interview that its subsidiary, Oracle Cerner, would “absolutely” meet a June 2023 goal to relaunch the project following a series of glitches and delays.
Glueck said Oracle opposed legislation by House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Mike Bost (R-Ill.) that would prevent the VA from adding the system at new sites unless it demonstrates “significant improvements” and a bill by House Veterans’ Affairs Technology Modernization Subcommittee Chair Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) that would terminate the program within six months.
“The termination bill kills the program quickly. The improvements bill kills the program slowly,” Glueck said.
Why it matters: The sprawling effort to replace the VA’s current electronic health records system, VistA, aims to improve care for 9 million veterans at 171 medical centers. But as of now, the new system from Cerner, which Oracle recently purchased, is only operational at a small portion of them.
The system has had safety problems, and its cost estimate has ballooned from $10 billion over 10 years to $50 billion over 28 years, according to a study commissioned by the VA.
Glueck disputed that estimate, saying that technology gets cheaper over time, and he said the company will meet the original 10-year window.
Baby formula manufacturers who say their products alleviate fussiness or — the holy grail for parents — prolong nighttime sleep are misleading their customers and should stop, World Health Organization scientists say.
In a three-paper series published in the Lancet Tuesday, they said those claims feed on parents’ anxieties surrounding infant care and discourage mothers from breastfeeding their babies, which is beneficial for their health.
The researchers accused the formula industry of manipulating mothers by framing breastfeeding advocacy as moralistic, while presenting formula as a convenient and empowering solution for busy, working moms.
Globally, about half of newborns are put to the breast within their first hour of life. And less than half of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, which the WHO recommends.
Formula manufacturers aren’t the only ones driving down breastfeeding rates, the authors said.
Governments do, too, by not guaranteeing six months of paid parental leave so mothers can breastfeed their babies for at least that duration, they said.