As I said recently, I’ve been writing less here for a number of reasons. One is that I’ve been asked to write on other sites. Another, a sobering factor, as that after years of study, I’ve concluded that the American healthcare system has tied itself in a fatal knot. The post shown here, on the Patient Power blog, is an example of both.
Again this year I was thrilled to be invited by Philips to participate in their Future Health Index project. This is among the most visionary annual healthcare overviews in the world. The full report – a 100 page PDF – is available free here.
Each year they’ve also asked me to submit a post for the project’s blog. Here’s my submission this year, touching on why oncology is ahead of most specialties in this area: the field decided years ago to align for patient benefit!
Let’s all do everything we can to help healthcare achieve its potential! Sharing information is part of that.
The value of sharing data:
What healthcare can learn from oncology
Decade after decade, innovations change the future of care. Microbes, anesthesia, surgery, transfusions, public health, radiology, penicillin, genomics … each development produced a quantum shift in what clinicians can achieve and in patients’ lives.
I wrote an article for the Future Health Index last year, Could data make you live longer?, which lists six different ways I as a patient can be empowered by better data flow. Similarly, it turns out one of medicine’s next great frontiers is not biological but technological: the ability for clinicians to share relevant patient data with others.
In this innovation, oncology is ahead of other specialties: the 2016 Future Health Index report found that 71% of oncologists across 13 countries share patient data electronically, while only 63% of other clinicians do.
Why? What can we learn from this?
A big factor is that oncology as a profession decided nearly a decade ago that electronic data sharing is core to their work, and spoke up about what they need.
Some moments stick in your memory in vivid, multi-sensory recall. This blog post is dated ten years after such a moment.
Today I can still see the clock digits on my Sony desk phone when it rang at precisely 9:00 a.m. It was my primary care physician, Dr. Danny Sands. I’d had my annual physical on 12/29, and as a follow-up for a stiff shoulder, on January 2 I’d had an x-ray from one of the Boston Red Sox team physicians.
Patients around the world have told me they can relate to what happened when I answered the phone: what Dr. Sands said changed my life in an instant.
Dave, your shoulder’s going to be fine – it’s just a rotator cuff problem. But there’s something in your lung, and we need to find out what it is.