Columbus, OH —HXP recently attended the National Forum on Data and Analytics in Washington, D.C. The 2 day event gathered some of the greatest thinkers and industry leaders to discuss reform and policies affecting electronic health records today. This is a report based on those ideas and the changing expectations that we face as the medical industry goes digital.

How Much Is Too Much?

What do you want me to do with this? That is a question that many of the doctors ask themselves when confronted with the task of analyzing self generated data. Patients are bringing quantified health information to the exam room as wearable technology becomes more mainstream and driving this force.

The future of eHealth is changing in exciting new ways, but with also the added hardships of that change. How much data is too much and how can we achieve meaningful uses from our information?

The current EHR system is designed to bring efficiency to the healthcare system by capturing the past and current condition of the patient as well as creating predictive models across population health to generate new insights into treating disease. We are beginning to analyze the results of this data into populations to think about how we can improve quality and health for not just one person, but for everyone in our system.

“We’re making the haystack bigger without changing the size of the needle?”Shawn Griffin, MD

Chief Quality and Informatics Officer

MHMD – The Memorial Hermann Physician Network

My Doctor Never Makes Eye Contact

We’ve sat patiently in the waiting room. We’ve filled out the paperwork for the 100th time. Now it’s time to see our doctor… who is staring at a computer screen entering endless amounts of data.

The NY Times reports that the average time for a patient/doctor visit is only 8 minutes, during which that time the doctor is required to input health data and update patient records. Physicians are spending 2.7 hours of their day on average using EHR tools, a system that is designed to reduce time and cost. With each technological step forward, it seems to pull the doctor/patient relationship further apart.

Let’s create solutions. We can use advances in technology to re-engage the discussion to create patient-centered care.

Patient Privacy Rights

“The ability to access medical information far outweighs concerns for privacy invasion.”Daniel C. Barth-Jones, M.P.H., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

“Only 1% of U.S. population agree that researchers are free to use their medical data.”Dr. Deborah C. Peel, M.D.

This is the debate that panelists Daniel C. Barth-Jones and Deborah C. Peel brought to the table in their session “Protecting Patient Privacy vs. Advancing Clinical Research”. Both viewpoints raised some interesting statistics and arguments for their side, primarily siting identifiable data as being the breakpoint.

Dr. Peel states that with new technology, a patient can still be identified even if the 17 HIPAA identifiers are stripped out. Anonymization is being compromised by developing technologies. She noted that 1 in 8 patients have put their health at risk due to privacy concerns by avoiding seeing their regular doctor, asking their doctor about alternative diagnosis, and avoiding tests.

Dr. Barth-Jones responded to those comments saying that reliable data disintegrates without identifiable data. Sharing of information is going to benefit both personal health and the health of others for the overall improvement of technology and healthcare systems.

“What if the transcontinental railroad was built with 300 different gauges of track?”Charles Jaffe MD PhD

Chief Executive Officer, HL7

Standardize Standards

We need a system for connecting our health records… no, wait. Last thing we need is another system. We need transparent technology – true integration that collects and shares data seamlessly to improve patient outcomes. These analytics will include wearable data, social information, medical records, payer perspectives, and population health insights that will be easily accessible to improve health, yet individually secured to protect privacy rights. All of these data points will join forces to provide information to reach the ultimate goal of better health for the “Unit of 1” – YOU. Designed by your data, for your health and for the health of others.

Now all we need to do is figure out how to build this.

Is there a data opportunity for us?

Hundreds of the country’s most forward-thinking data experts gathered at this conference to talk about the impact advances in analytics and metrics are having on health. Their conclusion: We’re just not moving far enough fast enough.

Is there anything we can do from the marketing suite to get there faster? Definitely. A few ideas we’ve been talking about to accelerate both communications and better health:

  • Accelerate behavior change with “social proof.” That means gathering longitudinal data about the choices and actions “people like you” take to help customers compare and improve their own health.
  • Create communications that feel personal, but are delivered and operated on a mass scale. We do it by optimizing content marketing with smart tools that tell us what content each segment of a client’s audience is interested in right now and how best to reach them with paid and earned media.
  • Leverage user’s behavior on our websites to improve our overall communication to them over time. We can blend online and offline or simply create more targeted messages and offers on the website and in digital advertising.
  • Rethink the CRM to be more useful. Think beyond the who and the what to the when communications are really used and valued.
  • Find new market opportunities for drugs sold at retail pharmacy. That starts with working with our sister organization, Adheris Analytics, to go deep in the data aggregated from 65% of U.S. pharmacies about the patients and practices who choose different drugs.

This is a new era. And, we can be among the first to define it for healthcare.

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Posted By: Mike Martins

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.