One of the things my EMR vendor does with data is using it in a deidentified manner to enable public health research that can answer questions around obesity trends, drug efficacy, disease outbreaks and treatment outcomes. You can check out a perfect example of this, which was the Analyze This! challenge. A large deidentified (i.e. anonymous) dataset generated by doctors’ visits with patients was given out freely to software developers, with a challenge to come up with a prize-winning solution to any healthcare problem they wanted to go after. Talk about amazing stuff! As providers, our data can be used to help millions get better healthcare, and all we did in the first place was record patient visits electronically.
When I think about how much we can help the world aside from simply using EMRs in the everyday care of patients, it makes me want to use an EMR all the more!
Dr. West is an endocrinologist in private practice in Washington, DC. He completed fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. West opened The Washington Endocrine Clinic, PLLC, as a solo practice in 2009. He can be reached at email@example.com.