“Pop health is still a pretty manual process. Having a dedicated solution, let alone a dedicated analytics platform, to address pop health is not as widespread as one might think.”
–Brendan FitzGerald, Research Director at HIMSS Analytics
When I first heard this line, a number of thoughts came rushing into my mind around the different population health management strategies deployed today. In my experience, I’ve noticed a lot of variance in these strategies, and somehow, all of them traced back to data integration.
Some regions focus on leveraging their existing EHRs solutions. Other areas attempt to find the best point solutions and try to integrate them together. Many other organizations are looking for partners to help build and deploy more targeted solutions. Ultimately, these organizations are trying to find the right solution to achieve sustainability in these changing times.
Healthcare data: The problem of plenty and inefficient solutions
One problem that I usually see is that there has been a lot of talk around providing a holistic solution — and the industry isn’t even close. Healthcare organizations have already drained millions of dollars in the hopes of improving outcomes through new technologies, and I think there is a dire need for a change in what we promise to deliver. What organizations need now are infallible strategies that focus on achieving a better outcome.
It is never about just integrating the healthcare data!
There is a buzz in healthcare around aggregating data. However, they are far from making sense of this data.
The question which we should be asking right now is how we can help save money and continue to deliver better care. The easiest way to analyze the progress of organizations is by examining the returns on investment in terms of outcomes and revenue. And this return is only possible if organizations are successful in activating this data to ensure that every member is utilizing it to their fullest potential.
Unless healthcare members have a holistic pool of information regarding every activity in their healthcare network, they cannot ensure that they remain at the top of every process.
Taking long leaps to establish transparency in healthcare
A few months back, a tweet from the CMS Administrator, Seema Verma, took everyone by surprise, and the concept of siloed healthcare took a significant hit. Value-based care is the future, and #WheresThePrice laid the foundation for transparency in terms of cost, expenditure, quality, and data.
It is time we took this concept of transparency to a broader level, moving beyond merely the pricing to ensure the transparency of healthcare data. After all, only the right access to the correct data can result in the right outcomes.
Best practices to make healthcare data useful
An important step when thinking about leveraging data is to identify the clinical use cases. That has a significant role in defining what the final output will look like and how will it be exchanged. It is critical to know what data would your providers need and what would they use it for. Does the data need to be pushed to the patient’s record? How will the new information be incorporated?
Additionally, integration has to be focused on connecting different practices to present patient-specific analytics in the best way. That patient-level data should be easily incorporated into the physician workflow.
Third, this data has to be communicated consistently. This is the only way to ensure minimum disruption. Across planning, analysis, execution, validation, and implementation, data has to be consistent and available at the right time.
Uberization of healthcare: Taking inspiration from other industries
Sometimes, inspiration can be triggered by a place never considered. Take a look at the taxi industry. Uber shook the industry up with its core value of promoting consumer-centricity. In other sectors, Google revolutionized the way we look at our calendars. Amazon is actually re-defining the meaning of “everything from A to Z.”
What we need is something revolutionary, which can help us solve the chaos that healthcare currently faces. We need to make the healthcare space less hectic and more interesting for providers, more accessible for patients, and more straightforward for payers.
Imagine a situation where a patient feels sick, so he submits a request on his iPhone, and the doctor is notified immediately. The machine learning-assisted platform books the appointment and puts the event on the patient’s and doctor’s calendars. If required, a cab is scheduled for the patient for the appointment, and the visit seems as if straight out of a fairy tale with no wait time and no redundant questions. Later, a care manager magically manages the patient’s care until they are totally fit.
That is the dream we have to realize.
The big idea is to create the healthcare of tomorrow
Starting from the discovery of penicillin in 1928 to measuring one’s blood pressure in just a touch on a smartwatch, healthcare has changed by leaps and bounds. However, the motive has always been the same — to make healthcare easier for doctors and patients. Be it the adoption of value-based care or merely treating a patient, innovation is the only constant. And data is the only weapon that can direct this change.