The Benefits of Clinical Health Data Integration

Podcast, Videos


In this episode of Impetus Digital‘s Fireside Chat series, I talk to Ryan Zarychanski, Paul Komenda, and Marshall Pitz from MindSet. Mindset is an innovative platform that integrates province-wide clinical health data into a single platform, with the goal of enhancing real-time access to data for healthcare providers, and thereby improve the efficiency of the healthcare system and the outcomes for patients who use it.

We discuss a whole range of thought-provoking topics, including the barriers to and benefits of clinical data integration for the healthcare system, clinical trials, providers, and patients; issues around data privacy and ownership; and their hopes for the “new normal” post-COVID-19.

Here is a sneak peek of the start of our conversation:

Q: Holistically, what is MindSet?

Ryan Zarychanski

A: So, Manitoba has a really rich connected series of administrative data. We could follow someone from their birth to their death using administrative data, which is different than clinical data that’s unique and individual to a patient, while administrative data could be at the population level. But, there is a clear gap in connecting these rich clinical datasets. So when you go to the hospital or doctor’s office, they’ll take lab work and you’ll have lab data generated, they may take an X-ray or a CT scan and you’ll have diagnostic imaging data generated. Those datasets are very disconnected; they’re extremely high fidelity and rich, and they’re really not leveraged in a cohesive, coherent way that allows us to evaluate return on investment in our healthcare system.

If we want to figure out who’s in the emergency room today, we link a bunch of databases to find out who’s there and where did they go and how do they do. But it’s on ad hoc basis, and it’s really not a very efficient process. And so we could create a provincial data record to help us monitor the functioning of our healthcare system, so that we can understand the return on investment for the healthcare system, and so that we can complete clinical trials at a fraction of the cost by linking the clinical datasets so that we don’t have to generate the data again just for research purposes.

We created a real-time integrated clinical data platform that we call MindSet. It’s really changing our mindset in how we use data in our province. It leverages every aspect we can of the healthcare system so that it’s sustainable and so that it’s there for us when we need it, and so that we’re getting the most out of the money we put into it. 

Paul Komenda
A: It’s kind of like building a new building with a bunch of different pieces that already exist. It‘s not enough to link datasets together, because there’s a lot of expertise that goes into interpreting datasets, asking the right questions of the data, extracting the right data elements, interpreting what data elements mean, and then applying that to solve healthcare problems both from a traditional health outcomes perspective but also in emerging patient-oriented outcomes. So we really incorporated patients as part of our team, in addition to having people with expertise in other areas like programming, contemporary statistical analyses, designing of clinical trials, health economics etc. There’s a lot of nuances. I would suggest the best research questions come from individuals that take care of patients. I want to really stress that we don’t want to be considered ivory tower academics or a bunch  researchers that come up with research questions and it’s not really linkable back to frontline clinical care. We very much listen to our patients and they’re at the table when it comes to all of these things. We’re a very truly authentic interdisciplinary team that’s well poised to answer questions about our system.
Marshall Pitz
A: I think one of the other challenges that a lot of clinical researchers experience are barriers to implementation of their work, whether it’s a trial or even an observational study. Certainly as clinicians, there are a lot of barriers for us to try to get a dashboard up that might help with service delivery, or even just to monitor a certain group of patients. So one of those barriers is technical, and that’s one of the primary goals of MindSet. But I think what hasn’t really been said is that our partnerships with the government and the rest of our provincial partners are all aligned around streamlining access to data. So there’s a whole new framework for how privacy and information management will be done within the province, and the MindSet platform is really meant to be a big part of that to help clinicians, researchers, administrators, etc. access data in an efficient way.


For more of my exciting conversation with the MindSet team, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat or listen to the podcast version below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.