Healthcare Must Seek Interoperability if It Wants to Understand Patients

Ryan Black
JANUARY 05, 2018

As the VP for Specialty Pharma Services at ValueCentric, John Giannouris deals with data. Data quality and interoperability impact both the patient journey and those looking to study or leverage it. Giannouris thinks the industry has its work cut out for it on those fronts.

“There's so many [more] touch points now for patients than 10 years ago, and therefore much more data that's available, which is great,” he told Healthcare Analytics News™ in a recent interview. “But then data becomes diverse and fragmented.”

Working for a data aggregation company, he finds that some customers—most of ValueCentric’s are in pharma—are looking for longitudinal patient-level data, which is not easy to come by. The situation forces clients to compromise.

“Not one company has access to all the [electronic medical record (EMR)] data in the US, so manufacturers have to make a decision,” he said. “‘Well, what data can I purchase that's going to help me get answers to the questions I have, knowing that I'm not going to be able to capture everything on every patient that uses my product.’”

The Holy Grail of health data lies in health systems, he says, but even they struggle to reconcile their own. Because systems are growing through mergers and acquisitions, most have multiple EMR systems under the same roof, with a different system in their pharmacies.

“I think that's an area that still needs to grow: Not just within a manufacturer's line-of-sight but even within a health system’s line-of-sight,” Giannouris said. Some health systems are getting it together, he believes, but if the patient is truly to be paramount, “I think a lot of effort still needs to be done,” he said.

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