Healthcare must 'free the data' to improve patient care, says Duke senior informaticist

Ursula Rogers, senior informaticist at Duke Forge, penned an April 4 blog post on why the health data sciences center's unofficial motto is "free the data."

Duke Forge, a health data sciences center at Duke University in Durham, N.C., builds tools to connect physicians and medical researchers with relevant data. One of the center's key missions is interoperability and the discovery of new ways to "pull together a fragmented story that's scattered across multiple screens of an electronic health record and turn it into a coherent and true narrative," Ms. Rogers wrote.

Ms. Rogers outlined the importance of this mission by describing her own experiences navigating the healthcare industry after her daughter was born with serious health challenges.

"There were significant errors in my daughter's medical record," she wrote. "Bad data 'stuck' to the medical record even after it was corrected. As my daughter passed from one medical crisis to another, these data issues (and the confusion they caused) snowballed to the point where I had to leave my job because managing my daughter's care required my full-time attention."

Ms. Rogers argued a process in which data flows freely between medical specialists who communicate with one another would help to create a system of actionable data that empowers streamlined communication and quality patient care.

"No patient or family should ever have to worry about whether bad data might be steering medical care in the wrong direction, or whether good data is failing to reach a care provider who can act on it," she wrote.

To access Ms. Rogers' blog post, click here.

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