Dr. Lloyd Minor: How data can democratize healthcare

Data has the potential to help hospitals alleviate social inequalities, yet two out of every three hospitals still can't easily access and share electronic patient information with their peers, writes Lloyd Minor, MD, dean of the Stanford School of Medicine, in a university blog post.

Citing Stanford's second annual Health Trends report — a meta-analysis of industry research and interviews with industry experts — Dr. Minor writes that healthcare stakeholders have "confirm[ed] a single, unifying trend — data is democratizing healthcare, making more and more biomedical information and expertise open to everyone, everywhere."

However, there are several roadblocks standing in the way, he notes.

"While we're closer to a future in which care is more predictive, personalized and accessible to all, two out of every three hospitals still can't find, send, receive and integrate electronic patient information from another provider," Dr. Minor writes. "And fear rather than promise still dominates much of the [artificial intelligence] conversation: many believe the technology will lead to big job losses, though the facts suggest these fears are largely unfounded."

Dr. Minor lists three questions healthcare organizations must consider as the industry ushers in this new era of data:

  1. "As care becomes increasingly automated, how can we avoid coding biases into algorithms and underlying data sets?"
  1. "As a record amount of data is generated, studied and shared, how do we safeguard that data without sacrificing speed or hindering collaboration?"
  1. "How can electronic health records, a primary culprit of physician burnout, instead spark the insight and connectivity for which they were intended?"

Click here to access the complete blog post.

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