In Dr. White’s view, a key component of improving care is to make it easier to transmit information. “There continue to be barriers to communicating among medical providers and other community service providers. They keep putting up barriers and more barriers and it just doesn’t make sense. It frustrates me to no end,” he says.
“I am so envious of banking system,” he says. “Obviously medical information is way more complex. But what the financial industry has put together allows you to go to any ATM to get money and information about your account, regardless of whether it’s your bank or not. Healthcare still has a lot to accomplish regarding how we move around consistent, confidential data. We have a long way to go to make sure the proper data is transferred, and it has to be accurate.”
Integrating SDOH Data Still Difficult
The recent attention on social determinants of health (SDOH) has pointed out the lack of standardization within healthcare technology, says Dr. White. “You can’t communicate data with someone else who doesn’t collect it or know where to put it.”
SDOH can play a critical role in delivering care and improving outcomes. Dr. White cites an example of prescribing a home breathing machine to a patient, only to discover that the family didn’t have electricity in the house.
“Where our patients live and what they do has more impact on their health than we give credit for,” he says. “It’s always been a facet of our practice.”
Supporting Best Practices in Digital Health
Dr. White has been an active supporter of Georgia’s Pediatric Healthcare Improvement Coalition (PHIC
). Comprised of five children’s hospitals, PHIC is dedicated to improving the quality of pediatric care across the state. Dr. White has participated in testing to determine whether hospital information is accessible and applicable for pediatricians to use.
During the past several months he has provided a provider perspective during presentations on SDOH and health equity to the Health Information Technology Advisory Committee (HITAC) as well as the ONC STAR HIE health equity committee.
“Every aspect of medicine should be about enhancing and improving the safety, quality and experience for patients.”