Chair File: Using Data to Transform Health Care

During our rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and health systems have developed new ways of collecting, evaluating and sharing data to improve patient care. It’s one way the pandemic is reshaping health care now and into the future.  

The AHA Center for Health Innovation recently released a new Market Insights report, offering a blueprint for health care organizations to use data for innovation and improving clinical and operational performance.

Over the next seven years, the volume of big data is expected to increase faster in health care than in any other field. Data is coming from medical imaging and medical devices, from health information exchanges and de-identified health records, from smartphones and wearables — and so many other sources.

Health care leaders need to know when and where to spend their data “capital.” They must consider how insights from data are going to foster collaborative decision-making and problem-solving across the organization.

The AHA report outlines the criteria for prioritizing and evaluating data projects. It also describes top data challenges for health care, including storing vast amounts of data; securing data in the wake of cyberattacks; sharing data for population health management and value-based care; and addressing bias in data that leads to inequities in care. 

Providence, the health system I lead, joined with a number of health systems from across the country to form Truveta, a new company dedicated to saving lives with data. The potential power of big data to serve the common good is staggering, and new insights cannot come fast enough. Read more about the new consortium.

Becoming a data-driven organization depends on people, processes and technology. With better data, increased collaboration and faster analysis, health care teams can continue to transform patient care.

Rod Hochman, M.D.
AHA Chair