The healthcare ecosystem is changing, and the catalyst is data

The pandemic exponentially accelerated the process of digitalization of the healthcare ecosystem, “pushing” us towards the necessary use of software and hardware to facilitate communication between the different actors involved.

As end users or simple intermediaries, in the last two years we have been able to observe how many of these new digital tools started to become part of our lives, and all of them have the ability to generate data at a volume, variety and speed never seen before.

That said, more than a few readers will wonder whether these data have any value, if the answer is yes, and whether they are being exploited for any particular purpose (without dodging the awkward question of for what purpose). This debate is not part of the objectives of this article where we will focus on answering (or at least try to answer) these first intuitive questions that naturally emerge.

We collect data, what can we do? do they have any value? where do we start?

Unfortunately, the answer to these questions is not so simple. Although a physician-researcher, health care institution or patient association may have a large database, this does not mean that it is potentially usable for decision making based on it.

In order to understand the potential of such data, it is necessary to carry out anevaluation of the data taking into account other variables such as, for example:

  • the technological and human resources we use for data collection. – architecture and technology -.
  • the rationale or purpose behind the collection. – administrative purposes, scientific purposes, etc.
  • the fields of information used to answer the hypothesis or rationale. -questions, scales, etc. –
  • the quality of the data we collect.

Subsequent to this assessment of the
current status of the
the current status of the base, we proceed to contrast it with the
state of the art
corresponding to the specialty or area of the group in question.

This is nothing more and nothing less than understanding what is the gap (gap that can be filled) between our current base and the highest quality standards that exist today.

This step is decisive when it comes to understanding the critical path to follow if the basic objective is to be achieved – obtaining value from data for decision making – and defining the strategy to achieve it as a team – time, human, technological and economic resources, among others -.

Now, after defining this strategy, we have enough information to answer the question in question paraphrased here: What is the potential of our data?

A new stage will then begin, which I will discuss in my next articles and which will be related to the process of adapting and/or designing a registry that will allow the collection of data for decision making.