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Communications of the ACM

ACM Opinion

Mr. President, Healthcare Has a Data Problem

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An old laptop has all of its keys smashed and scattered.

The inability to easily access and exchange data between providers, labs, payers, and public health entities not only leads to increased costs, but also harms patients and clinical outcomes.

Credit: Leon Neal/AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. is in dire need of more equity in health and healthcare, and the president's plan is a step toward ensuring that every American has the opportunity to access high-quality, affordable care regardless of where they live, their race, or socioeconomic status. However, the solutions proposed by President Biden in his recent state of the union do not address one of the most significant drivers of administrative waste in the U.S. healthcare system—healthcare data.

It's no secret that the U.S. healthcare system is plagued by inefficiencies, and deficiencies of health data interoperability between electronic health records and other health data systems are a major contributor.

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