It’s Time to Do a Healthcare Data Stocktake

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While we’re all transfixed by the latest fancy health tracker wearable or in-home BMI scale, that’s not really the big story here. There’s no lack of existing data or shortage of current tools on the market to collect medical data for consumers or medical professionals. The real challenge of today is how we manage, clean, sort, store and secure this dearth of data in our healthcare providers’ possession.

But what’s the real problem you say? Apart from the early adopters in the healthcare industry, most healthcare providers are functioning in a system built around the practitioners and administrators – not the patients. Just like most startups who practice the ‘design thinking’ principles, we’d like to see more healthcare services creating technology that focuses on patients as the priority. We talked to two of our existing startup founders who clearly see the problem and are working on it. CTARS is a case management and operational system for disability, community & aged care providers, while ResponSight is an IT system hacker detection tool based on user behaviour analytics.

Some of the big issues when it comes to patient care from the technology perspective are: the need to shift towards consumer-centric healthcare, a heightened level of engagement with patient data and improved maintenance of healthcare data. When it comes to security in the healthcare industry, the biggest challenge is with the doctors, nurses and practitioners’ needs in the field. As Jeff Paine, founder and CEO of ResponSight learned from his experience as a data security analysis, “The challenge with healthcare technology where the professionals provide services is that they all share machines.” In fact, he explained, “There’s a lot of login information being shared in settings where doctors have to scrub up but still have access to a screen so they’ll tell someone else their credentials. The problem is that a nefarious attacker could then use that information and masquerade as anyone else in that team.”

According to CTARS founder and CEO Brendan Fahey, “The shift from provider-centric to consumer-centric solutions is clearly the next wave of development.” That’s exactly where Brendan has focused his solution. From his over two decades of living with the problem, he’s taken a systemic approach to the collection, organisation and sharing of caregiver data.

As he sees it, implementation of technology like CTARS will allow staff and carers to improve their core capability and deliver an improved quality of care. This product has also been developed with the latest changes to the NDIS in mind, to reduce friction and minimize unnecessary costs wherever possible. In the Australian market, a deep understanding of the regulatory landscape is vital.

While healthcare technology startups are always as up to date as possible in terms of data security, the breach points Jeff highlighted above are a serious concern. There’s still a massive opportunity in this country to address the lack of medical tech security needs. Those solutions will need to come from user-focused development and sophisticated collaboration across fields. While CTARS is addressing the patient-focused data collection and management needs for certain types of care work, there’s still ample opportunity to develop patient-focused data solutions for other aspects of healthcare. There’s no shortage of areas of potential innovation in the healthcare sector. We’re sure there’s some great ideas out there waiting in the wings to be developed.