Two nights ago, my Uber driver told me about an island off the coast of Maine — Vinalhaven was its name — that indexed higher than any place in the country for diabetes. Apparently, there was a little bit of in-family diddling back in the day-day. Island people! The island became a renowned area for diabetes research.
The brand planner in me is reminded that studying discrete geographic areas and cultures can pay big dividends.
I’m a big fan of healthcare brand planning. As we look at healthcare on a broad scale, it helps to first look on a smaller, more controlled scale. Population health is big these days and as data is collected in health problem hotspots, say lead poisoning among children or breast cancer among women, we gain a clearer picture of possible causes, AKA epidemiology.
There’s a regional healthcare organization in North Carolina called Novant Health. Anecdotally, I hear them to be a very connected, integrated provider. Their goal is to consolidate on a single Electronic Medical Records platform and share information seamlessly across many practice areas. When an organization fulfills the promise of complete integration it becomes easier to study. And data becomes more valuable.
Just as Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution in the discrete geosphere of the Galapagos Islands, healthcare providers can evolve quality when parsing data across a tighter population.
When (and if) we move to a single payer healthcare system it won’t be long before we standardize and coalesce record keeping, thereby driving cost and inefficiency out of care. We will also become better planners.