Making Better Use of Health Care Data

Benson S. Hsu, MD and Emily Griese in Harvard Business Review: “At Sanford Health, a $4.5 billion rural integrated health care system, we deliver care to over 2.5 million people in 300 communities across 250,000 square miles. In the process, we collect and store vast quantities of patient data – everything from admission, diagnostic, treatment and discharge data to online interactions between patients and providers, as well as data on providers themselves. All this data clearly represents a rich resource with the potential to improve care, but until recently was underutilized. The question was, how best to leverage it.

While we have a mature data infrastructure including a centralized data and analytics team, a standalone virtual data warehouse linking all data silos, and strict enterprise-wide data governance, we reasoned that the best way forward would be to collaborate with other institutions that had additional and complementary data capabilities and expertise.

We reached out to potential academic partners who were leading the way in data science, from university departments of math, science, and computer informatics to business and medical schools and invited them to collaborate with us on projects that could improve health care quality and lower costs. In exchange, Sanford created contracts that gave these partners access to data whose use had previously been constrained by concerns about data privacy and competitive-use agreements. With this access, academic partners are advancing their own research while providing real-world insights into care delivery.

The resulting Sanford Data Collaborative, now in its second year, has attracted regional and national partners and is already beginning to deliver data-driven innovations that are improving care delivery, patient engagement, and care access. Here we describe three that hold particular promise.

  • Developing Prescriptive Algorithms…
  • Augmenting Patient Engagement…
  • Improving Access to Care…(More)”.