Why better data handling means better medicine


In a digital era, what’s the hallmark of good healthcare? If you guessed it has something to do with technology, you’d be right. 

A heap of new studies show that healthcare practitioners make better decisions when they use advanced technologies such as machine learning. New algorithms can help doctors with everything from improving clinical trials for new drugs to detecting heart disease and lung cancer. 

But what’s equally important for good health outcomes is how doctors and clinics handle all sorts of patient-related data. 

When doctors have a more complete picture of a patient’s medical history — including their risk factors for certain kinds of diseases — they tend to make better decisions about that patient’s care. But huge volumes of patient medical information stay locked away inside paper documents and files, stuffed into cabinets inside medical clinics. Even when the information is digitized, there are still plenty of problems with how it’s used, transmitted and handed off between health organizations, especially in the United States, according to a recent study by Pew Charitable Trusts. 

Speeding up digital transformation

So what’s the solution? Automation Hero is teaming up with medical software maker Medken to help streamline data handling and speed up digital transformation for healthcare providers. 

Medken, a Texas-based software company, leads the transformation of industrial medicine into human-centered, evidence-based medicine by providing a platform, tools and components for software developers. This allows them to launch human-centered workflow solutions within a short amount of time. Automation Hero has unparalleled capabilities around converting unstructured data and paper documents into usable, structured information. Together, the two companies have created an automation solution that will help providers improve outcomes and cut costs across the board.

Privacy matters

One aspect of the partnership that’s critical to both companies: privacy. Citizens in every country have been concerned in recent years about protecting the privacy of their health data, with many hesitant to share data or be honest with their doctors (omitting family history, past ailments, habits, etc.) so that the details do not go into their data record. Industry watchers have noted that data security is actually one of healthcare’s biggest concerns. This makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat illnesses and in fact contributes to a general information breakdown. If patients can’t openly share because they fear the data will be mistreated, what are they supposed to do?

In a world of data exploitation, giving people full control over their health data is a matter of dignity. Medken and Automation Hero are committed to data protection above and beyond the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. To that end, Medken is a sponsor of an open-source personal electronic health record project by Kailona and brings that expertise to the collaboration.

What’s at stake

Why should healthcare companies care about streamlining processes and optimizing data handling? Digital health initiatives not only lead to better healthcare outcomes but also give wider access to care for patients from different geographies and demographics. In addition, they can save healthcare companies billions of dollars in revenue. A recent report from the nonprofit Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare showed that healthcare companies could save $16.3 billion if they streamlined manual work through automation. In the end, privacy-focused digital transformation in medicine means better results for everyone.