Health systems continue to adapt as they try to cope with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholders in the health industry have placed a lot of emphasis on scaling-up hospital capacities.
However, the pandemic continues to affect the health of many people not infected by coronavirus. People living with chronic conditions are especially vulnerable to COVID-19-related complications and death.
The pandemic has also disrupted regular health care routines. This crisis demonstrates that the healthcare industry must place more focus and emphasis on primary health care. The approach will help manage unexpected surges in demand for health care services while maintaining continuity of care for all individuals.
The situation brings out the importance of having multi-disciplinary teams in primary health care. The teams must also be coupled with innovative roles for the professionals and integrated with community health services.
It’s also necessary to equip these teams with digital technology and empower them to work with well-designed incentives. The entire system will be more successful in delivering an effective health system response.
Trends in Health IT
Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Americans use preventative healthcare at half the recommended rate. The health systems have invested heavily in data analysis and outreach programs. While the aim is to close gaps in immunizations and screenings, there is still more than they can do.
The Role of Data Analytics
Data analytics examines raw datasets to identify trends and come up with conclusions while identifying the potential rooms for improvement. Healthcare analytics relies on current and historical data to draw insights, both micro and macro. They come in handy in supporting decision-making at the business and patient levels.
The healthcare system can improve patient care, deliver faster and more accurate diagnosis, and provide more personalized care with health data analytics. Data analytics also play a role in lowering the cost of service delivery while simplifying internal operations.
Data collected in health data analytics includes information on:
- Processes and procedures of the business aspect of health care
- The health of an individual patient
- The health of the collective population, including the trends associated with a location, race, socioeconomic status, and predisposition
Various tools used to collect, store, analyze, and share health data include:
- Health-related smartphone apps and more
- Master Patient Indexes (MPI)
- Patient portals
- Preventive Care
- Electronic Prescription Services (E-prescribing)
- Personal Health Records (PHRs)
- Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
With every digital method of data collection, there is a larger volume of data to analyze in real-time at any given time. Cloud storage and other technology solutions are thus a necessity when dealing with “Big Data.” Cloud storage is secure for sensitive patient information and also cost-effective.
Importance of Data Analytics
A BioIQ white paper explains that using advanced data analytics in making health plans can provide a better understanding of individual members. It will become easier to understand the barriers that prevent them from getting care. With this knowledge, it can get easier to deliver plans tailored to interventions that successfully close these gaps.
The availability of data in health care makes it possible to improve routine operations to deliver better patient care. It also plays a role in predictive modeling. Healthcare analysts can look at more than just historical or current information to track trends and make predictions. Based on these predictions, healthcare providers can develop preventative health measures and effectively track the outcomes.
For example, where hospitalization is necessary, health practitioners can better predict the infection risk, deterioration, and readmission. Such predictions help in reducing the cost of healthcare while improving patient outcomes.
Additionally, the fee-for-service model of healthcare is now being phased out. The growing demand is for value-based, patient-centric medical care, which has also enhanced predictive and preventive care measures in public healthcare. All this has been possible because of data availability.
The Future of Health
The future of health will be worlds apart from what is currently in vision. It will likely rely on digital transformation enabled by data sharable among various open and secure computer systems. Health will also revolve around sustaining well-being rather than responding to illnesses.
Cancer and diabetes will probably join the list of defeated diseases like polio in a few years. As preventative measures continue to increase, the expectation is that prevention and early diagnosis will form the backbone of the future of health.
Predictive analytics could play a role in delaying or eliminating the onset of some diseases. As the healthcare system embraces sophisticated tools and sets, it could mean the beginning of diagnoses from the comfort of your home.
The modern healthcare system in the U.S. is currently a combination of disjointed components. These include hospital systems, health plans, medical device manufacturers, and pharmaceutical companies. Forecasts into the future Showing that this will change. The patient will become the center of the healthcare model.
Shareable data will make it easier to promote close collaboration among stakeholders in the industry. There also will be a combination of services offered by new entrants (disruptors) and incumbents. These changes will make treatments and interventions more precise, cheaper, less invasive, and less complex.
More importantly, the future definition of health will be more holistic. It will encompass the overall physical, mental, social, spiritual, and emotional state. Consumers will have better access to detailed information about personal health. They will own this data to help them decide about their health and well-being.
While it may not be possible to completely eliminate diseases in the future, using actionable health insights driven by big data and intelligent AI will enhance preventative healthcare. They will also enable proactive intervention and enhance the understanding of how diseases progress. This way, it will be easier to prevent many catastrophic expenses that exist in the healthcare system.
Health plans, health systems, and life sciences companies have started shifting towards a better focus on wellness. We can only hope that the overall system will soon follow suit. Contact us to schedule a free organization assessment to set you on the path to preventative healthcare.