Health and healthcare are wrapped up in almost everything we see and do these days. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, perhaps a little more familiar and less shocking but no less a threat than before. Health workers toil nonstop to care for patients, manage community health, and search for effective treatments. For the public, accommodations for protecting health while buying food, going to work, and restarting school are on everyone’s mind. As collateral damage, the pause in regular primary care, vaccinations, and surgical procedures caused by the shutdowns may become an important health concern of its own.
In the active worldwide movements about social justice, healthcare is also an important and active theme, in the drive to understand long-standing healthcare inequities and their remedies. Even the recent unrest in the cities has its healthcare considerations. The leaders of the emergency department where I work needed to consider recently what it would take to repurpose a now-empty temporary COVID-19 surge tent as a tear-gas decontamination area if a confrontation were to occur.
One thing in common among all of these situations is the need for data. Data supplies the truth about pandemic spread, proper treatments, health and care statistics, risk factors, availability of resources and equipment. Meaningful resolution of any of our great health problems will be led by the wide availability, accuracy, and intelligent use of data to guide our actions.
You, our HealthShare customers, have always stepped up to support healthcare with vital information. In this issue of HealthShare Connections we highlight three more examples of customers using HealthShare technology in innovative and thoughtful ways to enhance care: the Lincolnshire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, Ospedale Niguarda, and University Hospital Plymouth NHS Trust. All of these organizations use HealthShare to bring together vital information from numerous disparate record systems, knit them together and make them accessible to frontline caregivers across the region. On top of that core, each has found unique ways to drive action through special displays, alerts for critical events, personalized care plan information, dashboards, and statistics. The fourth article in this issue covers syndromic surveillance, the next phase of information management in the COVID-19 fight. Finally, we include an article from Dr. Russ Leftwich covering key questions on antibody testing and the implications as we look to the future.
We wish all of you continued good health for yourselves and for the patients and communities that you serve.
Jonathan Teich, MD, PhD