Information Technology

Health, Care & Data

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<p>It is safe to say that in the VUCA world there are three guarantees: &lsquo;death&rsquo;, &lsquo;taxes&rsquo; and &lsquo;e-trail of data&rsquo; (digital imprint). All three guarantees have something in common for the vast majority: we are not happy to face death, pay taxes, or leave a trail of data behind yet, we have no choice than to face these realities.&nbsp;</p><p>While we have no control over the first two guarantees (&lsquo;death&rsquo; and &lsquo;taxes&rsquo;) is there something we can do for the third - data trail? As much as we would like to believe, it is extremely difficult to not leave a digital imprint behind, where &lsquo;data&rsquo; has always been the basis of to care for our health and well-being. From a height, weight, heart-beat measurements of a new born to vaccination records and the rest that follows till eternity, there is &lsquo;data&rsquo; and &lsquo;measurements&rsquo; at every stage. Clearly, there is no shortage of &lsquo;data,&rsquo; on the contrary, there is abundant data!</p><p>Against the backdrop of pandemic (COVID) where there is multiple &lsquo;opinions&rsquo;, &lsquo;reports&rsquo;, &lsquo;discoveries&rsquo; etc. pouring in, there is no shortage of data, yet there is room for improvement to get meaningful information.</p><p>The seeds of data are sown much before a new life comes into existence and once born the data grows in multiples at a pace that is unimaginable. It is strange to see that despite the availability of technology, there probably is not enough intent to share information. Based on information available in public domain for India, there is a thrust to push digitization of services across different healthcare delivery houses (clinics, labs, hospitals etc).</p><p>While it is generally accepted belief that digitizing health records enhances portability, quality and overall management of pertinent information (data related to healthcare/clinical/diagnostic) management of health, medical and clinical data, however, most(rather almost all) information pertaining to health/clinical/diagnostic domain is held in &lsquo;silos&rsquo; of companies/labs operating and managing the healthcare outlet. I am not sure if there exists a central system repository or a system that stores information and allows for the exchange of information after getting consent from the individual.&nbsp;</p><p>While individual patient must always have access to such information, it is crucial and critical for health care operators to collaborate, share knowledge and reduce duplication of tests while ensuring confidentiality; this could be a start in reducing health care costs.</p><p>Could the National Health Portal (https://www.nhp.gov.in/) be a solution? At present, there are more questions related to data governance, ownership, control, confidentiality, consistency etc. than answers. We may see expansion and evolution of the national health portal to be the single source of health information for every citizen of the country&hellip;... may be in future. Perhaps the road to combat this pandemic and recovery has driven a sense of urgency to look at the opportunity that lies ahead.</p><p>&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Sangharsh Sapre