How should pharma mine electronic health records as a data source?

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J. Bruce Leavitt
EVP, managing partner, Precision Xtract

At a time when value-based healthcare is a more common objective among stakeholders, EHR data can enable collaboration among payers, providers, health systems, and pharma manufacturers.

In 2018, pharma and biotech firms should be on the lookout for new and improved data products from major healthcare data suppliers. Companies seeking to be leaders in value demonstration and realization should leverage this data to develop insights that can lead to improved outcomes from the use of their products.

For instance, a pharma company could identify patients who would benefit most from its product and then, based on EHR data, create programming instructions tailored to each EHR system that could uncover these patients.

The result would be greater value optimization, including more patients who are diagnosed correctly, treated effectively, and more efficiently.

Stephanie Neuwirt
Associate director, customer experience (EHR),
Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide

If you've ever run an EHR campaign, you may have faced limited performance data and ROI analysis.

EHRs are often prohibited from sharing physician-level data with marketers because of privacy agreements with their main customers, including physicians and health systems. However, outside of marketing campaigns, de-identified EHR data is bought and sold for research purposes, ensuring HIPAA compliance.

Several EHR vendors and hospital systems sell data to third-party providers, who then triangulate it with pharmacy and medical claims to get deeper insights about clinical pathways and patient outcomes.

These insights can help marketers better understand behaviors around their products, competitors, and the disease states they impact, informing content and tools delivered at the point of care and generating a more relevant customer experience.

Niko Skievaski
Cofounder and president, Redox

The challenge is that health systems control access to the EHR. The database is under their lock and key. It's a non-trivial IT project to get data out of the EHR.

These projects compete for resources with mission critical systems, regulatory reporting, and quality initiatives.

We've seen the most success from pharma companies who have aligned incentives with a health system around improving patient outcomes or driving efficiency. There needs to be an ROI argument to get them to open up.

For instance, you might build an app that better educates patients or helps them adhere to a care plan. Or you could create a tool that provides real-time clinical decision support for diagnosis or dosage information.

These things could make a difference for the health system's bottom line and earn you access to EHR data.

Joe Meadows
President, Think Patients

The most promising use of EHRs is for clinical trial recruitment. EHR suppliers — especially those that also sell ads — are into that space.

Larger health systems that conduct clinical trials are using EHRs to improve recruitment efforts, but don't expect their EHR suppliers to sell the data themselves.

We also see potential for EHRs to guide go-no-go or change decisions about therapies through improved feedback. That can occur via patient self-assessments and faster access to lab and imaging data.

Finally, EHRs can help providers match patients with a drug they can afford through better data about formularies, coverage, and costs.

We expect to see development from both established players and new entrants.

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