In the US, healthcare spending far exceeds that of other countries around the world – currently more than $3 trillion per year. Yet information technology advances have been limited, and adoption of rudimentary digital health services such as electronic medical records (EMRs) has been woefully slow. An EMR allows a clinician to track data over time, easily identify which patients are due for preventative screenings, check how patients are tracking on certain parameters such as blood pressure readings, and monitor and improve overall quality of care within a given practice.
There is no question when larger pieces of diagnostic equipment (MRI machines, etc.) are replaced or upgraded, often as frequently as every 4-5 years. Yet simple advances in tracking and reporting patient history take decades – arguably limiting the effectiveness of these expensive new diagnostic tools.
Healthcare should become more about data-driven deduction and less about trial-and-error. That’s hard to pull off without IT investment, because of the increasing amount of data, history and research now available. Next-generation medicine will utilize more complex models of physiology, and more sensor data than clinicians can accurately record by hand, let alone comprehend. Thousands of baseline data, and sensor data, along with more integrated history, can better inform each diagnosis.
Approximately 1.2 billion clinical documents are produced in the United States each year, and these documents comprise around 60% of all clinical data collected. This tremendous source of medical information is unavailable when it is needed most and the healthcare industry must move faster towards a vision of electronic records and adopt a fast and scalable way of accessing this data on demand.
Today, many of these documents are unstructured and stored in various fragments across different locations and systems. Your primary care physician has their record of you, but not the record from your cardiologist, or gynecologist, or from the emergency department doctor you saw six months ago. So the first step is being able to make sense of the rich narrative provided across these disciplines and capture the data in a flexible and reactive data model.
These technologies give healthcare providers – and payers – the ability to access previously underutilized or unavailable data. It allows practitioners real-time access to information and a deeper understanding of their patients. We can turbocharge the value and quality of care if doctors know more about their patients and they can make more intelligent decisions – speeding recoveries, preventing readmissions, lowering infection rates and ultimately reducing costs.
Beyond these valuable benefits to individual patients, access to this data will also create a living data layer of clinical information that can be directed towards research and disease control. Data could be securely distributed from these patient record systems to various medical studies giving a new real-time, real-life patient perspective to the future of medicine. Contact us (footer) if you want to find out more.
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