The Data Dichotomy

Over the past 10 years, the federal government has mandated greater transparency within the health care industry. One of the results is that there is more data available than ever before. While the intent is noble and the application of the data is getting better all the time, the United States has created for itself a data dichotomy. Consider this:

  • The move from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance will require unprecedented access to, and understanding of, a tremendous amount of data. Historically, that information has been hard to come by, often because hospitals have considered themselves independent entities and not part of a larger system (and let’s face it, even if they are independent, reforms and regulations make us all part of a larger system). The release of all this information from providers and insurers means we can develop unprecedented insights for all organizations.
  • The flip side is that the government maintains – and rightfully so – that privacy is paramount. Transparency is fine as long as it falls within the guidelines of legislation like HIPAA. Unfortunately, some entities (e.g., states that mandate the de-identification of patient ZIP codes and diagnoses to protect patients) are creating additional hurdles to making the data usable – how can you assess risk in your market without knowing what patients require and where they require it?

Fortunately for Stroudwater clients, we are able to thread the needle between these competing ideals and to develop usable data that support your ongoing work.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can benefit from our reports and insights, please give us a call at (207) 221-8250.


Keith Bubblo is a Senior Data Analyst at Stroudwater.