Chethan Sathya | MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS
As a pediatric surgeon, trauma specialist, and public health expert – I believe that one of our biggest failures as a healthcare industry is the ability to ingest, extract, and analyze patient data in a timely, efficient, and accurate way. Whether we are talking about gun violence, COVID-19, cancer, or traumatic injuries, barriers in accessing patient data are extensive — and though we have made incremental improvements, we haven’t been able to move the needle on transcending these barriers for decades. Without better and more timely data, patient outcomes will never get to where we want.
This is why the work of companies like SapienSecure is so exciting. If we can figure out how to get up to date, accurate, and comprehensive data on our patients, from multiple sources, leveraging the power of natural language processing and artificial intelligence, not only will we improve current data workflows and efficiency — but we will transform healthcare and patient outcomes as know it.
This is particularly relevant as it relates to data on injured patients, like those injured by gun violence. Timely data is critical to research what works and what doesn’t with respect to prevention, and for us to improve our ability to care for trauma patients. To paint a picture, current workflows and trauma registries rely on human power, otherwise known as registrars, to manually extract specific EMR data elements on injured patients once they leave hospital. This data is then submitted with a significant time lag to trauma registries — who then compile the data into larger datasets for research and quality improvement purposes. Not only does this data become publicly available in a very delayed fashion, but it is often limited (because registries only request certain data elements) and lacks completeness and accuracy (missing data can be high at times, and accuracy is dependent on correct interpretation of data definitions and extraction by registrars). As one can imagine, this significantly limits our ability to real time surveil injury epidemics, understand what interventions or preventative strategies work or don’t work, and iterate treatment strategies based constantly evolving conditions and risk factors. Good data is the first and foremost element of any successful public health approach, and when it comes to trauma patients, we have a long way to go. Leveraging platforms like SapienSecure can finally help us get there, by extracting data quicker and more accurately.
As we move into a new technological age with rapidly evolving EMR’s and integration of artificial intelligence and natural language processing, healthcare needs to keep up. And better data extraction and ingestion is one of the most critical and high impact areas we need to focus on. Without innovation focused on producing higher quality health data we will be moving in circles for years to come – and many other healthcare innovations will fall flat, as many of them rely on good data in the first place. We need to prioritize improving data extraction if we want to truly transform the health of our patients and communities.
Dr. Chethan Sathya MD | MSc | FRCSC | FACS
Pediatric General & Thoracic Surgeon
Associate Medical Director | Trauma
Surgical Director | Pediatric Critical Care
Cohen Children’s Medical Center – Northwell Health
Northwell Health Center for Gun Violence Prevention
Assistant Professor | Department of Surgery and Pediatrics
Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell