The Health Information Exchange has Evolved from Hunter and Gatherer to Cultivator

“Data is the new oil,” British data scientist Clive Humby once said. “It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used.”

I thought about that line recently when I met with the chief medical officer of a large health system. “I don’t want more data,” she told me, “we are already drowning in it.”

Across the nation, we are making progress in exchanging health data. But if it isn’t refined and turned into insight, it does no one any good. That’s why health information exchanges (HIEs) — platforms that help coordinate care by allowing data sharing among various provider organizations and health plans — are stepping into a new, important role focused on bridging the gap between data overload and a data-driven, learning health care system.

During the federal government’s third Interoperability Forum in Washington, D.C., this summer, I convened a group of experts at the intersection of health care and technology, including Deven McGraw, chief regulatory officer at Ciitizen, and Josh Mandel, chief architect at Microsoft Healthcare. We focused our conversation on the role of health information exchanges in a world where access to data is less of an issue and data overload, analysis, and insight delivery are becoming the primary concerns.

What emerged from this discussion was how the role of the health information exchange has shifted from a “hunter and gatherer” approach — finding and moving data from one place to another — to a “cultivator” approach focused on curating and analyzing data and delivering insights where and when they are most needed.

Read full article by Claudia Williams, CEO, Manifest MedEx, published in StatNews.