Are We Using All the Data We Have?

Many of you might remember the post I wrote previously about the real cause of hospital readmissions. In that post, I quote Stuart Long, Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at CapsuleTech, who shared with me some internal survey results. While I found those survey results really interesting Stuart also offered me a number of insights that I thought other might find interesting as well.

First, in our conversation Stuart commented off hand that “even in the hospital today we have to throttle the data we send them.” For some context, Stuart is referring to how much data the medical devices that Capsule connects to the hospital can send. Basically, he’s saying that these medical devices have a lot more data that they could share with the hospital, but the hospital IT systems can’t handle all the extra data.

I’m sure we could have a deep discussion of the value (or lack thereof) of the data that’s not being sent to the hospital systems. However, I think this is all part of a larger question we need to ask ourselves in healthcare. Are we using all the data that we have available to us? Maybe there is value in some of the data that the medical device is collecting and not transferring to the hospital IT system.

This topic also takes me to discussions around patient generated data. Millions of patients are tracking their health using hundreds of tracking devices. That’s a lot of data available for us to use. Are we using it? I can think of a few hospitals that have focused uses of this patient generated data. However, we certainly aren’t using the vast majority of this data.

Are We Using All the Data We Have? The answer is clearly no. The question then remains, should we be using more of the data that’s available to us? Should someone be responsible for making sure we’re using the data we have available to us the best way possible?

Another interesting insight that Stuart provided was that Capsule was looking to extend charting ability to point of care. For those who don’t know much background on Capsule, go and read medical device guru Tim Gee’s HIMSS 2014 blog post where he talks about them in some detail. When you think about the interfaces that Capsule has created for medical devices, they aren’t that much different than an interface between a charting application and the EHR. The big difference is that a medical device is capturing the data versus a human entering the data in the charting application. The method the data uses to become digital is irrelevant. After that it’s the same plumbing that gets that data to the EHR.

I’ll be interested to see how far they take this. One of my big topics of interest coming out of HIMSS 2014 was to dig deeper into the idea of external EHR interfaces. I heard about some huge teams that are creating generic EHR data interfaces that push the data to the EHR. I’ll be interested to see how far we go with this trend.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.