I’ve been working with the Medelinked for a few months now on an integration project to link into a US-based medical data platform. It’s been an eye-opening journey.
It’s all part of the new Innovation Exchange Medelinked have launched to enable developers and healthcare organisations to work together and empower people to take control of their own health data using their health cloud platform
As a developer, I love working with platforms/APIs that help people out rather than just deliver big data sets telling me when the weather is going to get better. It’s good to make a real difference to people’s lives. When the data is also potentially my own it’s even better.
The way health organisations manage my personal data
An unexpected bonus of the work has bene that it’s opened my eyes to the way health organisations manage my personal data. And, well, it’s a bit alarming when you see how it all fits together.
I mean, think about it for a moment. You go to the doctors here in England and your GP types into their computer all of the super- private details of your visit. Where does all of that data then go and who has access to it?
No one has ever suggested that it’s my data or asked me for permission to allow it to be stored in any particular place. Most online storage apps at least allow me to share my data with certain people and have access to it in my own time.
For years I have been able to check my bank account online. Why not my health data?
Have you ever moved to a new GP or dentist or been to the hospital to then have to wait for your file to be sent on from your GP often by fax before they can speak to you about it?
Why the delay? Surely all of the systems could talk together like they do in virtually all other walks of our life? Apparently not and for good reason, it seems. The nature of health services means your medical data is stored in loads of different places and at the same time subject to concerns over confidentiality and security.
But your GP holds what is effectively the NHS master NHS, but every visit to a new health professional in another clinic or hospital will mean they also hold bits of information (probably notes on paper) so chasing it down and getting it from one place to another to provide a complete health record could end up being a manual job for some poor human scanning documents, sending faxes and emails, making calls and so on. Of course, all this often makes a mockery of the notion of patient confidentiality and security
The health industry has some flawed and antiquated ideas about data
While working with the Medelinked team and Allscripts platform I have realised that the health industry has some flawed and antiquated ideas about data (both Medelinked and Allscripts are proof that good things can be done with health data), everyone has some data a few have all of your data and we as individuals have none, unless we request a hard copy and pay for it.
In a perfect world I want to have access to my data, I want to be able to add to it myself and share it with organisations to help me - a host of healthcare professionals, health insurance companies and even my personal trainer .
This is where Medelinked have found a place to hangout. Their platform allows me (and anyone else now that it’s free for NHS patients (and health professionals too) to store my health data in one place and access it from smartphone, tablet, PC or Mac.
Innovation Exchange and Partner Programme
The Innovation Exchange and Partner Programme is a great idea and with organisations like: Allscripts; Bioclinica; Bupa; Chat to a Doctor; FitBit; iHealth; MyDirectives; Salesforce; Samsung S Health; Symptom Checker and Nokia/Withings in the mix it’s got to be a good marketplace in which to get involved.
If you are a developer and want to take part in what could be one of the biggest industry shakeups then I’d recommend you take a look at the Medelinked API and platform. You can dive right in using their GitHub API repo as well.
With a little work from a few developers we can all know who stores our data, control who can see it and ensure it can travel with us wherever we go. And we can be sure no fax will ever be injured in the processing of our data!
It just makes sense doesn't it? If you want to get involved contact the team for more information: email@example.com