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Denny Brennan on Healthcare’s Transformation to a Consumer-Centered Economy

Denny Brennan, Executive Director and CEO of the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium (MHDC), was interviewed by Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Innovation Podcast.

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Denny Brennan talks with Mission Matters about making healthcare data more consumer-centric and accessible, empowering individuals to create a more equitable,  accessible, and affordable healthcare system

What mission matters to you? 

Brennan says it is MHDC’s aim to help people use  their healthcare data to maximum advantage by  providing them the information they need to make good health decisions. 

Specifically, he says MHDC’s mission is to build “a health data system that enables people to find and get the care they need, when they need it, from the right caregiver, at an affordable price. With that information, people will  make the kinds of decisions that will force the industry to adapt and respond.”

When did you get interested in the healthcare industry?

Having been in the healthcare industry for 32 years, Brennan says he’s always been drawn to data and analytics. 

Of the limited data available in his early days in the industry, he recalls, “Data were incomplete, dated, and inaccurate.I found myself confronting the fact that getting through to answers to important questions, such as “Am I providing value for my patients or my members?” and “What do my patients or members really expect from my organization?” was practically impossiblet.”

At MHDC, “we envision a future where consumers have more than access to these essential data. They will be engaged in making sure their health data are as clean, , accurate, and secure as possible,” he says.

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Tell us more about the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium.

MHDC was established to bring the health data community together to collect and share health data and to solve the challenges that  arise when data are kept in institutional silos, Brennan explains. Founded nearly 44 years ago, MHDC has significantly evolved since its inception, when it had to collect data from scratch from each hospital. Today, he notes, it offers four core services for its members: professional development, collaborative data governance, health information exchange, and analytics. 

How has the response been so far?

While some MHDC members consider managing healthcare data to be a burden, he notes, most see the enormous benefits and opportunities of a patient-centered health data system. 

The emerging health data economy demands fundamental changes in the business models of health care payers and providers. Brennan,says, “In this new economy, insurers and providers  can’t exclude the consumer. They must  engage the consumer and make them an active part of their business.,  Healthcare data are too important and complex not to engage the consumer in the management and use of their health information..”

Addressing the myriad innovations in hardware, applications, data science and analytics, healthcare delivery, finance, and public policy, the MDHC seeks to continuously advance health care value in the Commonwealth and nation-wide.

To learn more, visit Massachusetts Health Data Consortium online.