What's in this podcast?

In this episode, Jason Foster talks with Anthony Roscoe, the director of enterprise data governance at Highmark Health, about how data governance is seen through the lens of healthcare in a proactive and enabling way.

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One Big Message

Data governance needs to be context-aware. It should be controlled; but in some instances, allowing flexible access to data to certain people in certain situations will allow them to do their job well.

[01:04] Anthony shares his background and experience in the healthcare field.

03:05] What does the Highmark Health organisation focus on?

[04:51] How does data play a part in the healthcare system?

[14:47] What goes into the conversation about how to converge the use of and the exploitation of data and the capture management governance of data?

[18:00] Topics that are more important in terms of managing and governing data in a positive way to drive benefit.

[21:31] Practical guardrails to put in place that allows the organisation to flourish and get the value that exists within the data.

[26:40] How to avoid stifling innovation?

[32:30] How did data play a part in how to manage and respond to the changing COVID situation?



Data in healthcare

The healthcare organisation of today is utilising data to look at patterns of population health, value-driven care, and the best ways to reach the population. This may be through wellness programs sponsored by employers; a large portion of insurance and access to healthcare is via employer-based benefits.

Looking at the different systems, and analysing the best ways to deliver and finance the care, is all driven by data. Data plays a part in geographically identifying where to base physical buildings and hospitals. And how you can look at that kind of supply and demand of different types of care. There are nuances in different needs in different parts of the country based on health, but also based on the ability to access the kind of care that’s needed.


The real balance between speed and decision-making

If a health organisation has all of the data, they’re expected to be custodians and good keepers of it, whether that be by regulation or at the basis of the Hippocratic oath for healthcare. You can ask, “If we have this data, are we using it in the appropriate ways to benefit our members and our patients?”  Decisions should be based foundationally upon regulations and standards and policies that are in place. But, it is also vital to look at it from an ethical perspective and ask, “Just because I can do something, should I do it?” “And does it match the values of our organisation?” This is a culture that must pervade in the hospital systems. 

Blending that together, the best approach is to ask, “If we’re going to create this engine to learn about the behaviors of our members and patients, how do we best ensure that we have a broad dataset that’s representative in eliminating bias and treating that well?” 


Define the right way

In the simplest terms, the base definition of data governance is defining the right thing to do. That’s not saying what not to do, it’s defining the right way. It’s an enabling function that can also be used to enable teams to innovate. When there are issues with a slowdown or blockages, you need to start having a conversation about, how to deal with that blockage? How to get to a yes? The vast majority of the conversations must be, perhaps you haven’t thought about X, how do we deal with X? Sometimes it’s inching forward, but the momentum doesn’t cease. Through this, you’ll see this practice as an enabler, not as the gatekeeper.


To summarise

During this time of the pandemic, data has played a crucial role in determining what needs to be done, especially in response to the situation and the roll out of the COVID vaccine. But, it didn’t lessen the impact that the frontliners have made. Data did not overshadow the fact that the nurses and the doctors and the other staff keeping our hospitals open and functioning during this time played such a key role in response to the pandemic and how we treat, to address the needs of the communities.

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