Discussions among so many diverse and talented leaders during the recently concluded HLTH 2021 meeting highlighted how major challenges in delivering equitable, quality, and timely health care are being surmounted while novel research methods and approaches are being developed to harness the full potential of the large amount of electronic data being generated by both clinicians and patients. In this context, several major themes were addressed across multiple different sessions and venues.
Aligning on Data Quality
The issue of data quality resonated across most topics discussed yet it became evident that there is no common framework for assessing data quality across disparate types of electronic health data. Additionally, a “fit for purpose” definition of data quality will be needed across the different stages of transformation of raw source data into fully curated data that are used for analyses.
Humanizing Artificial Intelligence
The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning approaches for transforming, monitoring, and analyzing electronic health data has skyrocketed over the past few years. However, it was recognized that appropriate human oversight is essential and high quality data inputs are needed for these approaches to result in meaningful and trustworthy insights.
Coming Together to Realize the Full Potential of EHR Data
The full potential of electronic health (EHR) data can only be realized through novel data partnerships that bring together overlapping real world datasets from different sources. Together, we can fully enable the connection of overlapping datasets to power both retrospective observational research as well as novel approaches for prospective evidence generation.
Putting these themes together, it became clear that unique approaches for data governance are urgently needed to ensure that sustained value is provided back to those who generate health data — namely patients and clinicians — while ensuring the proper use and oversight of all types of data.
As 2021 concludes and we prepare for an exciting and impactful year ahead, it will be important to reflect upon the rapid change that has been stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemic, how data and technology will shape the future, and how we can all collaborate to address major problems and develop solutions that improve human health while advancing research and uniting all stakeholders to achieve common goals.