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The Variables that Need Adjusting to Make Health Data Sharing a Reality

Posted on October 7, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

During today’s #HITsm chat, John Trader offered this fascinating quote from SusannahFox, CTO at HHS:

I quickly replied with the following:

This concept is definitely worth exploring. There are a lot of things in life that we want. However, that doesn’t mean we want them enough to actually do them. I want to be skinny and muscular. I don’t want it enough to stop eating the way I do and start working out in a way that would help me lose weight and become a chiseled specimen of a man. The problem is that there are different levels of “want.”

This applies so aptly to data sharing in healthcare. Most of us want the data sharing to happen. I’ve gone so far as to say that I think most patients think that the data sharing is already happening. Most patients probably don’t realize that it’s not happening. Most caregivers want the data shared as well. What doctor wants to see a patient with limited information? The more high quality information a doctor has, the better they can do their job. So, yes, they want to share patients data so they can help others (ie. their patients).

The problem is that most patients and caregivers don’t want it enough. They’re ok with data sharing. They think that data sharing is beneficial. They might even think that data sharing is the right thing to do. However, they don’t want it enough to make it a reality.

It’s worth acknowledging that there’s a second part of this equation: Difficulty. If something is really difficult to do, then your level of “want” needs to be extremely high to overcome those difficulties. If something is really easy to do, then your level of want can be much lower.

For the programmer geeks out there:

If (Difficulty > Want) Then End

If (Difficulty < Want) Then ResultAchieved

When we talk about healthcare data sharing, it’s really difficult to do and people’s “want” is generally low. There are a few exceptions. Chronically ill patients have a much bigger “want” to solve the problem of health data sharing. So, some of them overcome the difficulty and are able to share the data. Relatively healthy patients don’t have a big desire to get and share their health data, so they don’t do anything to overcome the challenge of getting and sharing that data.

If we want health data sharing, we have to change the variables. We can either make health data sharing easier (something many are working to accomplish) or we can provide (or create the perception of) more value to patients and caregivers so that they “want” it more. Until that happens, we’re unlikely to see things change.

Interesting Tweets from #mHealth14

Posted on December 10, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As noted, I didn’t make it to mHealth Summit 2014, but I have been watching on the #mHealth14 Twitter stream. The Twitter stream is not a substitute for in person connections you can make, but it is a substitute for the in person learning.

Here’s a look at a few of the tweets I’ve seen and some personal commentary on each:


The global position of mHealth Summit is worth considering. In some ways that makes the conference less attractive to many US healthcare providers. However, it also could be a wonderful international exchange of ideas.


Major props to the HIMSS social media team. They’ve been killing it with really professionally done vignettes like this one. If Harry means “healthcare system” as an individual healthcare organization, then I agree. If he means the US healthcare system, then I’m not sure I agree. It’s not like we’re going to stop getting healthcare. All of that said, a reminder of the importance of the patient is always good.


This is a common doctor perspective. The responses to the tweet were interesting though. Here’s one that really stood out:


Obviously there is a balance to both things. We haven’t found that balance yet.


This is a common topic at mHealth Summit conferences. I think the answer is yes, but it likely won’t come from the existing healthcare institutions.


Just remember that barriers are a double edged sword. On the one hand they make it hard to implement. On the other hand, it makes it harder for your competitors to copy you once you’ve figured it out. So, take the good with the bad.


Dan’s been talking about this subject for a while. I expect it will be his favorite slide in 2015 too. I’m looking forward to seeing the solutions he puts forward.


Two of my favorite healthcare IT thinkers. These are both extraordinary women. Read their stuff and you’ll see why I like them so much.


Kindness is underestimated because it’s impossible to measure. Starts to make you wonder about what mHealth apps will be most effective.


Barbara totally nailed it. An mHealth app that does this well will be extremely successful.

Most People Don’t Care About Their Health Every Day

Posted on June 4, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been having a lot of really important conversations with people about the various consumer health applications that are coming out. The discussion usually requires the patients to care enough to use the consumer health device. I’m often found saying, “most patients don’t care.”

The response to this comment is usually a bit of disbelief around people not caring about their health. The problem is that people do want to be healthy. However, they don’t want to worry about their health all the time. This quote from the amazing Susannah Fox added the nuance that I was always missing in my comment about patients not caring.

People do care about their health, but they don’t want worrying about their health to rule their life. Of course, chronic conditions are another story. For the majority of patients that are healthy or at least “feel” healthy, they aren’t motivated to improve their health daily. This is the challenge that healthcare app developers face. Overcoming it is a real challenge.