There was a decent representation of all stakeholders within the healthcare system at Health Datapalooza, held Friday in Washington, from what I observe — non-profits seeking digital health tools to serve the underserved, corporations, entrepreneurs trying to find ways to improve health outcomes, and regulators providing advice on how to stay compliant.
See also: Day 1 at Health Datapalooza
Here are some highlights from Friday’s sessions:
1. The industry needs to develop standards. The healthcare industry needs to learn the mistakes made during the creation and implementation of EHR systems, said Michael Leavitt, founder and chair of Leavitt Partners, former governor of Utah, and former secretary of Health and Human Services. He pointed out that there are more than 200 different EHR systems without a common standard.
“The fact that we have one foot in the canoe of fee for service and the other foot in value payment clearly demonstrates that it’s not sustainable and we ought to get better,” said Leavitt. “We have to define first the language. Then we have to develop a common way to go about it, develop standards in the way we communicate about it, so we can measure our progress.”
He believes the development of these standards need to come from collaboration at the industry level.
“Once we combine the healthcare markets with the clinical data, we’re going to get much better insight into it than Medicaid did,” said Leavitt.
2. Be forthright about how you use patient data. There is often uncertainty and confusion, particularly among entrepreneurs and companies without expertise in healthcare, on how to protect, use, and share patient data.
“It’s so critical that startup companies deal with security and privacy from day one,” said W. Reece Hirsch, a partner at Morgan Lewis. “The Federal Trade Commission emphasizes privacy by design.”
Whether it’s staying compliant with HIPAA or the FTC, officials from both agencies agreed that all companies should start with a privacy clause that states clearly how data is being used.
“Think about your user interface, size, and color of font,” said Cora Han, senior attorney at the division of privacy and identity protection of the FTC.
And if you are planning to use the data in a way that the consumer might not expect, such as sharing it with advertisers and insurance companies, make sure to notify consumers, said Han.
3. The market for health startups is growing. With 259,000 health apps available as of 2016, and a 500% increase of these apps since 2013, the interest and effort towards providing smarter, better health outcomes through technology is glaringly obvious, said David Vinson, founder and chairman of Xcertia, a non-profit industry alliance that promotes the adoption of mobile health app standards.
But Silicon Valley needs to also go to the people who understand the needs of those being served, reminded Chris Christmas, chief vision officer at Keep Livin, a non-profit organization that promotes the wellbeing of adolescents.
“I find it interesting that Silicon Valley does not fund minority technology companies,” said Christmas. “I think it’s important that the IBMs of the world look for companies that are in the community that are developing that innovation, rather than bringing it from outside.”