In 2009, President Obama passed the $19 billion HITECH Act to digitize patient data. The appeal from a research standpoint was clear: Researchers would have unprecedented ability to study what types of treatments worked for what types of patients. That vision would have allowed faster insights into COVID-19 treatments, the efficacy of new cancer therapies and how care varies by socioeconomic background. But 11 years in, this data has remained largely unusable. Most of the important data — including physician notes, lab results and scan images — sits unstructured and unstandardized in Electronic Health Records, where doctors store patient data. This dynamic creates high barriers to conducting research because the data must be painstakingly organized, labeled and validated before it can be used. But this is starting to change. In recent years, companies have found new ways to use the data generated from healthcare visits to improve research. This progress has been enabled by different types of companies. Some curate their own datasets, others enable additional uses of existing data and others create infrastructure to simplify data generation. …


Jacob Effron

Vice President @ Redpoint Ventures, Former Product Manager @ Flatiron Health and Consultant @ McKinsey

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