The Dream of Learning Healthcare Systems: How We Think It’s Doable

Guest post by Abhinav Shashank, CEO and co-founder, Innovaccer.

Abhinav Shashank
Abhinav Shashank

The digitization of healthcare was a much-needed change brought after years of hard work and effort. One might wonder how could one justify the expenditure of $10 billion in a span of five years just on digitization. The problem intensifies when after several studies we find out that EHRs only reciprocate around 30 to 35 cents on a dollar and sometimes the figure dips to 15 cents.

Why have we digitized healthcare when the efforts required to get the desired result is still too much? I think we haven’t used the available technological aids appropriately. It is like driving a car at midnight and not knowing that you have headlights. You can have a clear view of your path, you can get to your destination fairly fast but can’t because you don’t know what is going to help you and in what way, your performance is reduced to a great extent to be able to achieve what you desire

Justified use of EHR could create the needed ecosystem

According to a report, 10 percent to 20 percent of savings are possible if a value-focused healthcare organizations capitalize on EHRs and interact with their patients better through technology. The amount that could be saved annually per bed is in between $10,000 and $20,000.

Meaningful Use

There are incentives for meaningful use of EHRs, but the truth is that the return through meaningful use incentives is somewhere around 15 or 20 cents on a dollars. There have been implementation, stabilization and optimization problems that have made it hard for healthcare organizations to extract the best out of EHRs. Practices will have to start using data as a source of innovation and come up with solutions that’ll not provide them better incentives but assist them in providing even better patient-centric care.

There are certain key points one can work on to make their healthcare ecosystem more efficient and patient-centric. Only judicious data usage from data disparate sources can help in so many ways, imagine what else is possible with advanced solutions. The integration of EHR with different disparate sources could be really beneficial in understanding the factors that drive value-based care. For instance, with the help of various data one can perform:

Population Health Management: With the help of data collected from different sources, impact at a population could be created and analyzed. Once you have the data of millions of patients, imagine all the things that are possible. Identification of at-risk patients, stratification of patients on the basis of various disease registries, better decision making, and a lot more. According to a study, due to disease management programs the cost of care were reduced by $136 per member per month because of reduction in admission rates by 29 percent.

Variations in Care Delivery: Efficient analytics and data management can help answer many questions. The medication process could be streamlined on the basis of past cases, and identified opportunities could be capitalized. Also, a thorough data-driven analytics could provide substantial insights on the performance of various facilities and how they differ when it comes to care delivery process.

Improved Patient Experience: The patient experience could be improved to a greater degree by implementing advanced patient-centric care and increasing transparency. Patients could be updated about their tests, involved in crucial decision making through interviews and video aid, and other medical procedures regularly. Feedbacks and surveys will definitely help in understanding what patients want.

Better Care Coordination: One of the most important segments of care is the post-acute episode care when it’s time for medications, follow-up visits, etc. A care coordinator can help patients to make this process effective, but for them to be able to efficiently complete this process they need advanced technology to stay updated. Once that is in place, a practice can dramatically improve on measures like PMPM, readmission rates, screenings, etc.

Performance Tracking: A healthcare organization could learn from the past and improve the performance with the help of advanced analytics. Pinpointing a weak link and improving on it by diverting focus to it becomes easier.

As we prepare ourselves for MACRA, a lot of efforts are required to adapt to it successfully. Under MACRA, the care quality standards set are high and apt technological aid will be the need of the hour. The most important thing is how we make the patients safer and how they get the best medical aid with the best technology. People often doubt what good technology can do to healthcare, but there are many stories which have proved how the quality of care was improved with the help of technology.

Wonders could happen if we are ready to embrace the change. Going to space wasn’t an overnight phenomenon, but today humankind imagines a life on Mars. It might take time to lay the foundation, but it would be worth it. Imagine all the great things you can do with it. Precision medicine, automated care coordination, better savings, and so much more. Let’s build a future for upcoming generations we dream to have.

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