Why Provider IT Systems Aren’t Ready to Capitalize on Patient Data

Lorraine Chapman | June 15, 2018 | 4 Min Read

Explore the challenges healthcare providers are facing when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and integrating patient data in order to obtain meaningful insights and improve patient outcomes.

Value-based care is bringing about a shift in patient empowerment, forcing changes in their relationships with healthcare organizations, which now have to provide greater value, a better experience, accountability and transparency.

New technologies also are empowering patients, who are able to see benefits from the personal use of wearable devices, remote health monitoring and online diagnostic tools, health apps and telemedicine. These technologies can provide physicians with important insights to track, monitor and measure a patient’s progress. Engaging patients in this way will also reduce time in clinics, connect the circle of care and better deliver the quality of care that best suits them.

Factoring in the impact of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and sensors, it’s clear that the vast amount of data now available to the provider community represents a challenge to manage. Using all this data to maximize the potential benefits also has to be balanced with maintaining patient privacy and trust—all the while not overwhelming physicians and clinicians with data that is not meaningful.

Medical device vendors, payers and providers alike are in in the middle of a paradigm shift. No longer are the devices or tools themselves at the center of attention, but rather the data is at the heart of it all. Even more so are the insights they provide to empower clinicians and providers to more accurately track, measure and prove that those devices are actually improving outcomes.

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This will present them with new opportunities and business models that will transform their practices and enable them to improve customer experience, create new products and services, and increase their revenue. However, there are several considerations that need to be taken into account. For instance, the pressure to reduce costs will continue to be an issue, not to mention increasing efficiency while demonstrating improved clinical outcomes.

There is also the importance of integrating these connected devices and the data from them to the healthcare ecosystem. There’s no doubt that the variety and complexity of the information has dramatically increased. How does the industry best integrate and make use of patient-reported data from some of these connected devices with the knowledge gained from the clinical data?

Finding a way to efficiently collect, extract and analyze the proliferation of data can present a significant challenge. While big data is helping the industry move closer to precision medicine and to better predict outcomes, many organizations’ big data analytical skills are deficient because of existing fragmented technologies, and unclear objectives and communication. Some provider organizations lack the technical infrastructure to ingest, store and analyze real-time data from connected devices and systems. This can be especially challenging at the point of care with time-sensitive patient decisions. There must be a shift in business processes from collecting insight from stand-alone resources to integrating data intelligence seamlessly across the organization.

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To harness the power of all available healthcare data, it’s important to determine how this data can be best leveraged for an organization’s advantage. Begin by asking: what are the biggest issues that this data can solve? Who are the target audiences for the data? How and in what context will they receive and use the data? Start with setting the goal to assist in demonstrating what and where data could best benefit the entire healthcare ecosystem.

While the opportunities available through the use of data in healthcare are enormous, the obstacles are often just as big. As the industry evolves at a fast pace, the concerns will continue to include healthcare costs creeping higher, ethics, privacy and security, finding methods to best share the data, and a lack of effective data management strategies. Harnessing the power of this data will prove to be the biggest challenge, but succeeding in doing so will dramatically impact patient outcomes and ultimately revolutionize healthcare.

This content originally appeared in Health Data Management ‘s HIT Think

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