How Better Point-of-Care Data Helps Providers Improve Care
By Chuck Divita
July 18, 2022
By Chuck Divita, Executive Vice President, Commercial Markets, for GuideWell and Florida Blue
According to the global investment bank RBC Capital Markets, 30% of the world’s data is related to health care. Over the next five years, health care’s share of the data universe is expected to grow at a significantly faster clip than such industries as manufacturing, finance, and media. Recent interoperability regulations established by the Health and Human Services’ ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) will contribute to this growth.
Appropriately utilizing this ever-swelling ocean of data has been a multi-faceted challenge for decades—first with collection, structure, and storage, then with secure information exchange among stakeholders, including providers, health plans and consumers.
Health care’s data challenge today is the ability to surface actionable information in real time and apply those insights within an active workflow to facilitate the efficient and effective delivery. This capability is the difference between static and dynamic information.
Static vs. Dynamic Information
Portals are typically used to exchange information—patient records, claims, care plans, medications—between health plans and providers. However, much of that information is static. This means a provider must trigger several actions to make that information useful.
For example, providers need to locate the information they need, move it from a portal to an electronic health record, apply it (often retroactively) to a workflow task, or initiate requests to the health plan, a peer, or the patient for more information.
Looking at this process, it’s easy to see how data traffic jams can occur. No matter how rich or immediate health information is, unless it is delivered and accessible at the right time to the right person, entire health journeys can be bogged down in costly administrative inefficiencies, care delays, information silos, and avoidable friction among health plans, providers, and patients. This environment is especially fraught as health care moves toward value-based models of care, which incentivize—or penalize— health systems based on measures of care quality, cost, and timeliness.
Seeing the Forest for the Trees
The opposite of static information is dynamic content—meaning the right information is delivered to the right stakeholder at the right time and in the context of the larger care experience. Care journeys are complex, multi-dimensional, and can occur over a span of years or decades.
Because dynamic content is contextual, it enables providers to address patient care in the moment without losing the expansive view of a complete health care journey. The following are some challenges dynamic data can solve:
Care gaps: Primary care physicians and those responsible for coordination of care often must piece together patients’ medical histories from fragments of patients’ own memories about care and diagnoses they’ve received from specialists, urgent clinics, and other types of providers. In contrast, with claims data that covers the entirety of a patient’s interactions with the medical system, providers can now receive pertinent information about a patient’s complete care journey.
Administrative burdens: By sharing a fuller picture of a patient’s care and medical history, care teams can better manage patients’ transitions of care – with less paperwork than traditional methods of information sharing.
Suboptimal patient and provider experiences: With well-timed alerts and reminders that deliver the right information to clinicians at the right time, doctors can spend less time hunting through electronic health record fields and screens for discrete nuggets of important information. This, in turn, allows providers to devote more time for more beneficial and focused interactions with patients.
Health disparities: Access to a wider array of data empowers providers to better identify and address patients’ social determinants of health. These challenges may include limited access to nutritional food, transportation, economic opportunity, and health care. Understanding the barriers patients are faced with enables providers to deliver better care and refer patients to the appropriate community-based social services resources.
The Future is Dynamic
Tighter integration of clinical and administrative data and the deployment of tools that support dynamic information access and exchange are already creating tangible benefits for patients, providers, and payers. Additionally, the development and deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools will further innovation in dynamic information access, exchange, and use.
Surfacing actionable data effectively will help break down information silos between payers and the physician at the point of care. This will reduce administrative burden, optimize the provider and patient experience, and introduce a new era of increased cross-organizational focus on improving patient outcomes.