AirStrip calls for end of data blocking as part of National Health IT Week
Health information technology (HIT) plays a crucial role in improving healthcare delivery, but the practice of data blocking is denying patients the best care possible. As a partner in National Health Information Technology (NHIT) Week, which starts today and runs through September 30, mobile interoperability leader AirStrip is calling for change.
“HIT must be integrated and interoperable to support optimal patient outcomes, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is well-positioned to help the healthcare industry advance,” AirStrip CEO and Chairman of the Board Alan Portela said. “The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) can help us identify what works and what needs to change, but other elements must also be in place to truly drive progress.”
To start, Portela called on vendors to end data blocking.
“Put patients in the center and eventually that will drive profit. Let’s stop the turf battles that prevent true interoperability and hamper the ability to aggregate data,” Portela noted. “Limiting data access weakens analytics and resulting data insights which are the very things that could vastly improve patient care while lowering costs.
“Never forget that ultimately patients own their data, and can choose providers based not only on care quality but also on data sharing,” Portela added. “Health systems that openly support data sharing will benefit from increased patient traffic. The rest are asking for trouble. If patients make their feelings known and vote with their healthcare dollars, the industry will be compelled to wake up and respond. Ultimately it is patients who hold the power to drive true change.”
Portela also called on the U.S. government to support data unlocking and drive the growth of IoMT via guidance and enforcement, with a goal of creating a model for interoperability that defines the data requirements for optimizing clinical workflows. Shifting to a model that supports workflow optimization will expose data gaps one clinical workflow at a time, as well as realize the need for real time data vs. retrospective data.
“The current standards-based model is unsustainable. The federal government fails to recognize the importance of interoperability, ignoring medical device connectivity and limiting requirements around electronic health record standards such as C-CDA and HL-7/FHIR as opposed to focusing on what clinically relevant data is needed to support clinical workflows,” Portela said. “By working with the health IT industry, the government can guarantee that all data is made available via open application programming interfaces (APIs).”
The end goal, he added, is to recognize the significance of personalized precision medicine.
“Not all clinically relevant data is currently documented in electronic health records. We also need to unlock data from medical devices, imaging, body sensors and activity monitors, genomic data and so on,” Portela said. “The few legacy vendors that continue blocking the data do it to hold onto their customer base, only exposing limited standards-based subsets of retrospective data. This leads to limited reactive analytics and poor data insights, which restricts advancement in personalized medicine and clinical research.”