Big Data

Has Your Health System Evolved?

Somya Gulati
Thu 12 May 2016


The face of healthcare is ever changing and constantly improving the way the patients receive their treatments. A trend recognized in today’s US health care setting is that of a shift from professional dictation to patient directed health care. An emphasis on the treatment of disease, which was highly successful in the past, is not the answer for today’s healthcare needs. Today, patient education is the primary focus with the emphasis on prevention of disease by screening for risk factors and encouraging patients to practice behaviour that fosters good health. In the past patients would seek medical care only after symptoms had developed that interfered with their lifestyle. Todays’ trend reflects patients taking a proactive approach to preventing a disease after they have been exposed to the education through mass media such as commercials, the Internet, or brochures obtained from clinics or physicians’ offices.

Patients are more in charge of their health care now than ever. They have access to their medical records. They can choose better insurance plans, and can make decisions and discuss their health care options with their physicians to find what is best for them. There is more interaction over all from the patient about their health care.

With the advances in technology medical professionals are able to reach far more people than in the past. This technology has given professional nurses the ability to encourage more patients to improve their health while fostering positive behavioural changes, referred to as health promotion. All of these new technologies will make healthcare more efficient for not only the patient but the providers as well; giving the provider more free time to spend with the patient instead of under a lot of paperwork. Although it is taking some time for everyone to adjust to these new changes, the benefits of this new shift will be for the better overall health of everyone. Having said that, there are many challenges along the way that slows down the progress of the changing landscape of health care.

The healthcare industry continues to struggle with establishing more Interoperable capacity

Interoperability remains the goal of organizations seeking to have their diverse IT systems and software applications communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. But what organizations have to do to get to interoperability is one of the vexing questions troubling HIT leaders.

The other greatest struggle is that Big data doesn’t equal actionable insights.

There are multiple EHRs and there is an overwhelming surge of big data. It’s great to have access to this data, but what do organizations do once they have all that data? How do you make sense of this data? If you can’t make sense if your data, how will you ever move the needle of Population Health Management?

Training and education of health care staff members will take time

Not everyone will even agree with the new changes and make it harder for them to be implemented into the organization. Having every health care staff member on board for the changes is hard.

Delivering quality care is not the same as financially succeeding under new reimbursement models

Organizations are aware that in order to succeed under value-based reimbursements and new care delivery models, they must effectively care for top 5%-10% riskiest patients. But the irony is that they don’t have a game plan to do so and until the organizations don’t have a better sense of what actually moves the needle on keeping the high-risk patients healthy and therefore total costs down, there will be a lot of experimentation and waste to figure out the successful value-based blueprint.

Needless to say that the healthcare landscape is ever changing and has come a long way from a traditional concept of exchange for services to a more patient based model that gives the patient the responsibility for health care services. The needs have changed and evolved with time and so has the technology.

The demand for analytics in decision-making will only increase in the coming years.

Healthcare providers have evolved in the way they treat patients, measure physician performance, clinical outcomes and financial viability, negotiate with payers, and in the myriad ways they now use data for decision making in all these areas.

Providers who are currently transforming into data-driven enterprises have already seen important benefits to their organizations; most see analytics as necessary for operating effectively and holding their own against competitors. It has become clear to all that health care moving forward will rely heavily on adapting to a data-driven paradigm for serving patients and thriving in this new landscape.

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