Guest post Michelle Blackmer, director of marketing, Healthcare, Informatica.
The Affordable Care Act is commonly surrounded by words, such as “analytics,” “electronic medical record (EMR)” and “population health,” routinely trumping the word that matters the most, the center and driver of the law: the “patient.”
A recent EMR Patient Impact Survey compiled by Aeffect, Inc. & 88 Brand Partners, illustrates that patients are experiencing a personal benefit of EMR adoption:
- 82 percent of patients visiting doctors that use an EMR believe they are receiving better care,
- 68 percent appreciate the convenience of being able to check for medical records and test results, and
- 44 percent, or almost half, of these respondents say they have a more positive impression of their doctor because he/she uses an EMR.
However, beyond these early and obvious benefits offered by information technology – convenience and improved service – there are more meaningful benefits ahead. Insights will be revealed that will change healthcare in ways we can’t even imagine. The adoption of EMRs is generating useful, consumable and sharable electronic data. It is also creating a forum to inspire and collect patient-generated data, including health history, symptoms, biometric data, treatment history and lifestyle choices.
According to a new report from digital health consultancy DrBonnie360, there are now an estimated 50 petabytes of data in the healthcare realm, and this volume is rapidly increasing. In fact, many Informatica healthcare customers have reported significant data volume growth. For example, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center recently communicated that its data storage (storage alone) is growing at 40 percent a year.
What’s more, EMRs alone don’t account for this growing volume of data; information technology also supports capturing genomic data, including capturing the genomic sequence for every patient. Information technology enables this genomic data to be married with EMR data, patient-generated data, social data and more. By combining this data, scientists and clinicians are armed with the information they need to power insight and discovery.
The idea behind aggregating data (medical record data with genomic data) is that if we can understand the exact process and defects at the subcellular level, healthcare can begin to design treatments in more personalized and innovative ways. For example, not every patient is going to respond to the same chemotherapy treatment or the same medication in the desired way, but with the right data, clinicians will be able to bypass invasive, painful and expensive treatments that aren’t going to work and will instead opt to apply the most effective treatment the first time around.
The only way to make this a reality is to facilitate the creation of data and enable IT to serve it up in a way that it is clean, safe and connected. In this way, IT has the opportunity to be an on-ramp to innovation by aiding clinical and scientific discovery. By investing in data – its quality, accessibility, governance and connectedness – healthcare organizations will be able to transform information technology from an enabler of patient satisfaction to an enabler of improved outcomes.
This innovation in patient outcomes takes into consideration data that measures and illustrates the health of a population to improve the health of each individual patient. After all, in healthcare, outcomes are what matter most to the patient.