Simply after closing a $28 billion deal to accumulate digital well being data firm Cerner, tech big Oracle stated it thinks it could remedy one of many greatest tech issues in healthcare: affected person data.
The mixed corporations will create a nationwide well being data database that pulls in information from hundreds of hospitals, stated Larry Ellison, Oracle board chairman and chief expertise officer, throughout a press briefing. Affected person information can be nameless till people give consent to share their data. “We’re constructing a system the place all Americans’ well being data not solely exist on the hospital degree, however in addition they are in a unified nationwide well being data database,” Ellison stated.
Ellison outlined the well-trodden issues with the US’s healthcare information techniques: affected person data is siloed off inside particular person establishments. That makes it exhausting for medical doctors to get details about their sufferers after they’re handled at different establishments. It additionally makes it troublesome for analysis groups to do research on giant teams of individuals; they’re typically restricted to the affected person data on the place the place they work, so it’s exhausting for them to inform if their conclusions would apply to folks at different well being facilities.
However, regardless of Ellison’s sweeping guarantees, Oracle will probably face an uphill battle to make the imaginative and prescient a actuality. Well being IT consultants tweeted skepticism within the wake of the announcement. Consultants in well being expertise and the federal authorities have spent years, if not many years, attempting to make it simpler for well being data held at totally different establishments to speak with one another. A Nationwide Institutes of Well being program was capable of construct an nameless, centralized data database for COVID-19 analysis in 2020, however that took monumental effort from individuals who already labored on interoperability points — and it was nameless and didn’t require navigating affected person consent.
Large tech corporations typically run into issues after they attempt to sort out the advanced, knotty American healthcare system. Cerner and Oracle’s partnership combines tech experience with expertise within the well being information ecosystem, which can provide them a leg up. However, as with most points in healthcare, there’s a chasm between figuring out the issue and with the ability to repair it.