Six ways the patient data explosion is turning healthcare inside-out

A new era of patient-driven healthcare is underway. With unprecedented access to genetic data and the availability of new technology such as implants and wearables, patients are becoming increasingly proactive in their healthcare. The rise of such 21st century digital citizens is driving new and innovative care management and digitization.

As digital citizens help usher in a wave of patient-driven care, healthcare organizations are going to have to rethink their business models, taking into consideration:

Population care. By collecting data from digitally conscious citizens, we can begin to understand the dynamics of the entire population. One example is that people with similar profiles can be identified, successful care paths can be determined, then a pattern can emerge to identify the most effective interventions. Thus, the digital citizen will produce sufficient real-world data for the ecosystem of provider, payer and life sciences companies to understand the real-world data in context — i.e., as real-world evidence, and that evidence can be used as insight.

Integrated partnerships. A fundamental shift has occurred in the relationship between providers, payers and the pharmaceutical industry, and these factions need to be better connected. Significantly more data is being captured relating to patients’ clinical status, and this data must be gathered from across the care continuum. Longitudinal patient data, held by the digital systems used to deliver patient care, is also rapidly becoming a necessity. This data frequently exists in different forms and structures that demand normalization to enable effective analysis and derivation of insights.

Monetary incentives. Patients are gaining the ability to derive monetary value form their own health data. For example, a person who is proactive and knowledgeable about their health data and genomic makeup can spend time with their insurance company and make the case that they have less risk for certain diseases. This would impact their premium because that person can show they are able to take more control of their health.

Privacy in the ecosystem. Even though proactive patients are in control of more of their health, there is still a lot of information that could be outside of their direct span of control. In this case, individuals would not have control of the data; thus, their privacy and confidentiality can be compromised. In the genome world today, DNA testing services have control mechanisms but need to demonstrate continuous security and regulatory compliance.

Standards. As most organizations have created proprietary structures, a shift is taking place to a model such as FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), a standard for data formats, that gives the industry a consistent framework. This means any structure can be converted into the FHIR standard. In doing so, data can be normalized, making it easier to link data from different sources at speed. FHIR is not a silver bullet but goes a long way towards achieving interoperability of healthcare data from multiple sources.

Contextual data. Key to delivering better information for better healthcare decisions is to turn raw data into contextual data, allowing organizations to drive the workflow upstream. Once healthcare providers have collected persistent data on a patient, insights for treatment plans can be created. For example, if a patient’s family has a history of diabetes, the system could trigger a blood glucose test directly into the workflow and prescribe software that will allow the patient to undergo a meaningful self-assessment.

Putting all this together means building a bridge between clinical research and real-world data, then contextualizing the data into real-world evidence. The goal is understanding what’s happening in the research community and turning outcomes into computable workflows that can be brought into the clinical setting. Then, combine the worlds of the provider and payer to get insights that can deliver better patient outcomes.

Read more in the position paper, Unlock healthcare data to deliver better patient care.


Femi Ladega is vice president and chief technology officer for DXC Technology’s healthcare industry group and a DXC Fellow. He has deep experience delivering major transformation engagements to private, public and international organizations globally. Femi provides leadership for driving the solution strategy and technology direction for the industry group. @FemiLadega

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