The Dangers of Disconnected Healthcare

How data fragmentation is affecting our well-being

Coral Health
4 min readOct 23, 2018

We all know we’ve involuntarily paid a price for the digital services we use. Facebook started as a simple way for us to share pictures and life updates. We’ve now surrendered that data to third party analytics firms. Equifax was a platform that allowed us and our vendors to more quickly access our financial data. The data we entrusted to them is now spilled out in the open. Almost every week, we seem to hear about some new egregious mishandling of our private information.

The price we’ve paid for all these shiny new digital services is the fragmentation of our personal data across multiple service vendors and the associated loss of control. Every Facebook post we make is a chance for the company to learn more about our preferences and sell these insights to product vendors. Every phone call we make defines our usage habits, which can algorithmically be turned into predictive analytics for service providers to sell us more things. Even our browsing patterns aren’t safe anymore, as Google now tracks and sells data about our every move.

There are varying implications to each of these use cases. If Google tracks our browsing history, while it may suck, it’s not going to affect our physical health, at least in the short term. If our Facebook posts get arbitraged and we have to scroll through more annoying ads, while creepy, it won’t immediately destroy our livelihoods. But what if this dystopian future we’re trending towards does indeed kill us in the short term? Seem a little far-fetched?

No. You should be concerned about data fragmentation in one very important domain: healthcare. Think of all the various healthcare services you use. Your hospital. Your family doctor. Your latest report from 23&me. Your blood results at LabCorp. The insurance claim you submitted for your last prescription fill. The naïve healthcare consumer (i.e. most of us) assumes that there is some level of coordination occurring on the backend — that our family doctors have ready access to all this data to view a complete picture of our health and provide us with customized care.

This is not the case. Healthcare is just as fragmented as all the other digital services we mentioned before. In fact, it’s worse, because so much of our healthcare documentation is still handled manually by fax and paper. There are many reasons for this — ones that we have discussed before — but it’s largely due to oligopolistic business practices in the industry, inertia and bureaucracy.

Data fragmentation has very real impacts on our health — and even our lives. Imagine finding yourself in an emergency room, unconscious or incapacitated. The healthcare providers there would have no information or background on who you are or your medical history. What if you were administered a drug for which you were allergic or otherwise adverse to? What if you weren’t incapacitated, but unable to gain timely access to critical medical data, thereby delaying treatment or incurring significant costs as a result? These types of scenarios are endless and terrifyingly common.

But what if we instead had technology that allows us to seamlessly collect our medical data from every doctor we’ve seen? Upon receiving care, we would immediately get the results on our device for our own safekeeping. Much like the single touch media streaming services we use everyday, what if we could get all our data from every hospital we visit, every insurance company with whom we transact, and every pharmacy that fills our prescription orders?

Enter Coral Health Records

This is exactly what we’re doing at Coral Health. We believe individuals should be at the center of healthcare delivery. Instead of paying fealty to the countless black boxes that hold our data, we want users to be able to pull in their own data transparently and conveniently with a single touch of a button. We want this to be free for all patients and allow them control over their data. We also want this data to be cross-service compatible. If one hospital is using different terminology for a treatment than another, the data should be matched without any interpretation from the patient. Patients should be able to quickly share all their collated information with their doctor so that their doctor can more effectively provide personalized care.

With the Coral Health app, you, the user can do exactly this, for free. Simply download Coral Health Records on your Android or iOS device, select healthcare organizations you’ve visited, input your credentials and within seconds, you’ll have access to your medical history at these hospitals. No more calling labs to request your latest results. No more waiting for your doctor to call hospitals to get your data. No more forgetting what medications you’re on, or what immunizations you’ve had — this is the beginning of a truly connected future in healthcare.

Give it a try today!



Coral Health

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