During a recent virtual Reuters Events panel, Permanente physician leader Edward Lee, MD, said improved data interoperability has the potential to unlock multiple benefits for physicians and patients.
“There’s a science and an art of medicine, which really involves listening to the patient and understanding their history, knowing their story,” said Dr. Lee, executive vice president and chief information officer of The Permanente Federation. “That includes having information from the patient themselves and their past interactions with the health system, both within Kaiser Permanente and outside of it. It’s important to incorporate all of it into the decision-making process.”
The online panel focused on how regulatory and technological changes could provide the opportunity to unlock the potential of data interoperability.
“It’s not uncommon to get nuggets of information from other repositories, and it can really make a difference in terms of the clinical care that is provided,” Dr. Lee said. “A very simple example might be understanding that a patient is severely allergic to medication. Something less obvious might be information about how the patient traveled through the Central Valley in California, where they’re at risk for fungal infections.”
In addition to providing information that supports the decisions that physicians and patients make together, interoperability enables patients to access information that can help them better understand their health conditions and become more engaged with their health.
“The more we can encourage this type of data exchange,” Dr. Lee said, “the better off we’ll be in terms of health outcomes in the future.”
Note: To view a replay of the full panel, visit the Reuters Events site. (Access is free; registration is required.)