January 28, 2021 – John Watson
Back in the summer, the New York Times ran an article whose title explained a key problem with the health care response to COVID-19:
Before public health officials can manage the pandemic, they must deal with a broken data system that sends incomplete results in formats they can’t easily use.
Public health officials in Houston are struggling to keep up with one of the nation’s largest coronavirus outbreaks. They are desperate to trace cases and quarantine patients before they spread the virus to others. But first, they must negotiate with the office fax machine.
The story goes on to provide accounts of fax machines spitting out a thousand pages with incomplete information, as well as the need for Washington State to bring in “25 members of the National Guard to assist with manual data entry for results not reported electronically.”
There are parallels to education that have been evident throughout the response to the pandemic, and may be even more clear as districts consider long-term changes for fall 2021 and beyond.
When we picture the U.S. health care…