Nations around the world are struggling to ensure optimum access and delivery of healthcare. It has been established that most have witnessed underuse or overuse of medical and health services, leading to disappointing outcomes for the health and wellbeing of the population. While overuse can have severe financial, physical, and mental impacts on patients and deflect resources from those who need urgent medical intervention, underuse is much more damaging.
The lack of affordable and effective medical interventions is a global phenomenon for a variety of reasons. According to a recent Gallup survey, 25% of Americans put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year due to costs. Apart from the rising cost of healthcare, other factors limiting access and effectiveness of medical care include poor visibility into patients’ medical history, administrative burdens, complicated provider-payer relationships, and challenges with embracing patient-centricity.
EHRs need a face-lift
While electronic health records (EHRs) were supposed to alleviate challenges associated with paper-based patient charts, they still involve significant manual effort, leading to care-provider burnout. Let’s consider an example where a pediatrician is looking to prescribe Drug A of a specific potency to a child. The doctor must locate the drug in the EHR system and must go through a long list of options to finally select the right one making a simple task a time-consuming exercise. A study conducted by the American Medical Association found that it took 20-42 clicks to calculate the taper doses manually, and the error rate in some cases was as high as 50%.
EHRs have not been able to deliver the efficiency they promised to doctors and have been riddled with issues like the lack of intuitive interfaces and effort-intensive data entry processes. The challenges are compounded when we consider interoperability issues around data flow between providers. The lack of data transparency and accessibility makes it difficult to harness the true potential of digitized patient charts and enable connected care. However, medical history data in a digital format holds the promise to deliver critical insights that can have an extraordinary impact on the quality of care.
Feasibility of connected care
Personalization and patient-centricity in healthcare is another critical issue. The traditional provider operating-model has focused on volumes and hence, there has been limited personalization. Today, the proliferation of wearables, IoT solutions, and sensor technology has helped providers collect real-time, accurate data from patients to drive personalization and remote services. However, integrating this data with EHRs poses a challenge given the legacy systems are not equipped to handle the velocity and volume of Big Data generated by wearables and connected devices. There are also regulatory, liability, security, and privacy concerns that must be paid attention to if wearable data is to be leveraged to boost the quality and promptness of patient care.
Making value-based healthcare a reality
There needs to be a shift towards value-based healthcare where a provider is rewarded for keeping patients healthy. Here are three ways that providers can achieve superior patient-centricity:
- Streamlining health care data management
Providers need to create a complete view and understanding of the patient by aggregating data from multiple sources - EHRs, contact centers, social media, mHealth, and more – and ensuring standardization and consolidation. It is also necessary that data can be shared seamlessly between stakeholders within the healthcare ecosystem. Data management challenges can be addressed by deploying healthcare CRM platforms, mHealth tools, and user-friendly patient portals to streamline data availability and integrity.
- Remote and in-house patient monitoring
Estimates suggest that in 2020, 40% of all IoT devices will be health-related. Data from those devices can be used to monitor the health of patients and without incurring the avoidable cost of visiting a clinician. This is especially true in cases where the nearest medical facility might be miles away. Further, with continuous monitoring of patients’ vital stats, doctors may be able to uncover underlying medical conditions that can be addressed before the situation worsens. It has also been noticed that the health of critically ill patients can be managed effectively from the comfort of their nearest medical center using Tele-ICUs that expand the geographic range of ICU physicians.
- Digital partner strategy and modernizing legacy IT and EPRs
Healthcare providers looking to accelerate innovation and transform legacy IT landscape must partner with a specialist with extensive domain knowledge and diverse industry experience. With efforts underway to transition to an app-based health information economy, there is need to upgrade EHRs that exemplify interoperability along with ease of use and intelligent automation. Doing that in-house can be a costly and lengthy exercise, leading to a longer time to market and high operational and financial risks. A digital transformation partner can help recommend and implement the best EHR and healthcare CRM platforms, enable robust enterprise integration, quickly roll out data management workflows using pre-built templates, and ensure data accuracy and standardization.
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