CAN HEALTH DATA TRANSFORM HEALTHCARE?
Lessons from the Israeli National Program
By Shira Lev-Ami CEO & Co-Founder, SpringYA
The use of health data to transform healthcare, finding new and exciting paths of diagnosis and treatment has triggered scientists’ imaginations for decades. The opportunities are infinite, and promise a healthier future for us all.
Science fiction has featured personalized seamless diagnosis, through a simple full body scan, or even a morning glance at the mirror, coupled with wearable devices replacing complex medical procedures.
Decades later, we seem to be simultaneously both closer and further away from this exhilarating vision. Medical data is abundant, making big data research a basic reality; genome sequencing is cheap and accessible; market forces are pushing medical big data research forward rapidly.
But alas, real-life applications of big data research have yet to reach our doorstep. Despite strides forward, algorithms and data-based medical use are not easily integrated into our core medical workflows.
Health Data Infrastructure
In recent years Israel has invested significant government resources in promoting an ambitious digital health strategy for the Israeli healthcare system. The program set forth to promote a data-driven infrastructure, including EMR at every point of care, data sharing through a national Health Information Exchange, and a national Big-Data platform. This comprehensive infrastructure is set to enable the business transformation: Personalized Medicine; Preventive Care; Sustainable Processes; Online Digital Services; and a Patient Centered System.
Over 100 Digital Health Projects to Transform Healthcare
To realize this ambitious program, Israel has invested in over 100 digital health projects, spanning all aspects of the system: from implementing a national platform for clinical data sharing, through connecting all healthcare providers to streamline payment, billing and scheduling, to open data projects and national epidemiology management initiatives.
National projects are challenging and slow, but have proved successful in creating a new reality for healthcare in Israel.
However, one specific initiative has proved to be more challenging than expected: Israel has issued a special call for proposals aimed at finding promising new technologies to solve some of the looming challenges faced by the system, and widely implement them. While showing forward-thinking on the part of the government, these initiatives were so far unsuccessful in breaking through the barriers of healthcare providers.
Growing Demands of IT
Once an innovative concept has been drawn-up and tested on data, we face the frustrating challenge of implementing its use throughout the health provision workflow in order to transform healthcare. Over-scheduled IT departments, long EMR development cycles, difficult integration procedures, unharmonious medical terminology and, above all, the fragmented attention of medical personnel burned-out by trying to keep up with growing IT demands on their time. A recent article in the New Yorker titled Why Doctors Hate Their Computers gives insights into the physicians’ difficult position – between the hammer of advanced data-driven applications and the anvil of hard-to-use, frustrating implementations.
Realizing the science-fiction-like aspirations of advanced medicine is closer than ever – if we succeed in solving not only the fascinating research puzzles, but the usability test of putting them to work for improving care.
Shira Lev-Ami is a member of the Steering Committee for the first Big DataTLV event in Israel to focus on HealthCare on April 16, 2019, in the Wohl Convention Center in the heart of Innovation Nation, Israel www.bigdatatlv.com READ MORE
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