Why can we instantly view all our bank, credit card and brokerage data on our phone in one application, yet go to the doctor’s office blinded by our healthcare records, diagnoses and prescriptions?
Our health status should be as accessible as the balance of our checking account. The release of financial data enabled by startups like Plaid is starting with healthcare data, which will have a more profound impact on society; it will save lives and extend. This accessibility is fast approaching.
As the primary investors in Quovo and PatientPing, the two leading companies in financial and healthcare data, respectively, it is clear to us that the winners of healthcare data transformation will look different than financial data, even as we move towards a similar situation. For more than a decade, government agencies and consumers have been pushing for this release.
In 2009, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITEC) hit the first major industry, catalyzing a wave of digitization through electronic health records (EHRs). Currently, more than 98% of medical records are digitized. This market is dominated by multi-billion-dollar vendors like Epic, Cerner and Allscripts, which control 70% of patient records.
However, these giant vendors have not yet made these records easily accessible. The second wave of control has begun to solve the problem of stuck data to make EHRs more interconnected and valuable. Agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services have made it mandatory to share data between providers and suppliers using a common standard, Fast Healthcare Inter-Management Resources (FHIR) protocol.
This pressure for greater data liquidity is matched by consumer demand for better information about cost and quality. Employers continue to shift a large portion of consumers’ healthcare spending through high-discount health plans – from 30% in 2012 to 51% in 2018.
As consumers pay for higher costs, they are more concerned about the cost of different health options, yet are unable to make these decisions without real-time access to costs and clinical data. Tech startups have the opportunity to facilitate and control the transmission of healthcare-related data and address consumer claims. fintech lessons make it tempting to assume that healthcare-related data will suffice to address all the challenges that plague healthcare, but this is not the right model. Plaid’s aggregator model has benefited banks from relatively high density, limited number of data types, and low barriers to data access.