An energetic Duke Medicine oncologist named Amy Abernathy, MD, presented at today’s Health Care Innovations Summit in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, West Wireless Health Institute and the journal Health Affairs, the gathering brought together about 1,000 health care stakeholders (So says an HHS press release.  I’ve been watching the webcast from Charlotte.).

Several speakers praised the forward-thinking nature of the event, which HHS says is the first of its kind.

Abernathy discussed her research at the “Cancer: Journey Toward Better Health, Better Care and Lower Costs” event.  A key take-home message at this session was the importance of the patient.

“Data is oxygen,” Abernathy told the audience.  But providers can’t forget that there is a “person at the center of the model. This is what health care is all about,” she added.

Abernathy also addressed how collecting data that patients, administrators and researchers need can help move the U.S. health care system towards a “rapid-learning” model, which is explained further in this 2010 Journal of Clinical Oncology article.

Below is a graphic from that same article that contrasts humans’ capacity to absorb information with the sheer volume of data about cancer treatment and care.  The idea behind a rapid-learning system for care is improving how  data is collected, what type of data is collected and how it is synthesized and spread to help providers and patients make the best decisions.  The hope is it will improve care and outcomes as well as lower costs.

Courtesy of the Journal of Clinical Oncology: September 20, 2010 vol. 28 no. 27 4268-4274

Innovation comes with new cancer treatments, but smaller less technological innovations help improve health care, too.   NC Health News reporter Taylor Sisk recently wrote about a mental health care model in NC that has revolutionized patient care.  NC Health News will continue to cover how our state innovates.

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Taylor Sisk

Taylor Sisk is a writer, editor, researcher, producer and documentary filmmaker who served as the rural health reporter from 2015 into 2016. He has served as a managing and contributing editor of The Carrboro...