Healthcare “Digitization”: Integrating Health Tracker Device Data in the Healthcare Enterprise

Guest post by Joel Rydbeck, director, healthcare technology and strategy, Infor.

Joel Rydbeck

Healthcare is undergoing rapid “digitization” – a move toward an integrated ecosystem of mobile applications and data exchange that integrate consumer data into the enterprise. For healthcare, this could enhance patient engagement and enable care to become more efficient and “real time”.

Nonetheless, moving to a more digital healthcare enterprise presents a series of challenges:

We’ve all visited a doctor and been asked “How are you sleeping?” and “Are you getting exercise?”. If you are among the growing number of people with a fitness tracker, you may think, “Hold on, I have that recorded”. So, you pull out your mobile phone and respond “I am getting six to seven hours of sleep a night and about 11,000 steps a day. Is that good?” While your doctor may understand your quick synopsis of the data, imagine if they were getting the data real-time. Would they know what to do with it? What if it contains disturbing trends? It would be unfortunate if crucial information wasn’t put to good use. But how?

Interactions like these prompted Washington University’s Olin School of Business and Infor Healthcare to collaborate on improving the usability of personal tracker data. This collaboration included conducting a small survey of 39 physicians from a broad spectrum of specialties asking their thoughts about the use of tracker data for clinical care.

The survey uncovered differing views on what information would actually be useful, showing:

The survey also asked providers what factors would enhance their likelihood of using tracker data for patient care. Majority would like to see better integration with their electronic health record (EHR), more patients using the devices, and additional data, such as blood sugar, being collected.

Physicians reported lack of education as a barrier to effectively using the data. About 50 percent believed that education, in the form of a short presentation or discussion, would be useful while 31 percent thought that a short guide would suffice.

While two-thirds of providers were open to discussing personal trackers with their patients, they did express concerns in using the data for care. The data must be proven accurate before physicians will place trust in it. Inconsistent or inaccurate data could lead to unnecessary anxiety and possibly harm. Also noted is that extraneous data can clutter the EHR and complicate patient care. Many of the providers mentioning drawbacks to using device data stated that the devices might work best as motivational tools for patients. More study towards interpreting tracker data for clinical use is needed.

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Consolidation, Integration and Digitization: 2016 Health IT Trends

Guest post by Jean Van Vuuren, regional vice president, Alfresco.

Jean Van Vuuren
Jean Van Vuuren

Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations are constantly evolving due to the proliferation of technology, the increasingly digital workforce and advancing patient expectations. In addition to evaluating the constant flow of new technologies in the healthcare market, they must be nimble to meet the technological needs of healthcare workers and patients. In addition, the increasingly multigenerational workforce has varying requirements when it comes to technology, organizational culture and career progression. Finally, it is becoming more important for healthcare organizations to deliver a consistent patient experience. Today’s patient is better informed, more in sync with their health and expects a superior healthcare experience. To address these somewhat competing forces, healthcare organizations will focus on consolidation, integration and digitization in 2016.

Consolidation

Shared services is a growing model across industries, and healthcare organizations will follow this trend in 2016. This model allows organizations to consolidate tools and processes to meet a number of needs across their organizations. Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities will look to take existing services and the tools that support them, and coalesce them into a more agile and flexible platform for IT solutions that support their entire organizations. For example, hospitals that have a system to manage EHRs and a different system to manage employee records may be able to use one, the other or an entirely new system to address both needs (and, potentially, others across the organization). The latter would obviously involve the decommissioning of legacy applications in favor of more robust tools that are open, have flexible deployment options and support mobility.

Integration

Similarly, healthcare facilities will only be able to meet the technological, organizational and clinical needs required today by employing tools that integrate not only with the systems they already have in place, but also with the tools that employees and patients use both personally and professional. And, in 2016, they will focus on integration, bringing in technology that can work with many other tools now and into the future. Using the example above, if a healthcare organization has an EHR system that they plan to keep, but they also want to get another system to manage employee records, they will seek to purchase a tool that integrates with their current EHR system. And for good reason.

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