How can you cost-effectively and efficiently harness technology to improve your population health efforts? It’s a common question, as technology is the enabler for population health initiatives, yet many providers appear to be stalled or stymied in their attempts.
For instance, according to a recent study, nearly two-thirds of hospitals and healthcare providers have adopted remote patient monitoring and analytics into their care processes. However, they are struggling to integrate this information into their clinical workflows and at the desired frequency to support clinical decision-making and identify population health outreach opportunities.
It’s certainly not for a lack of interest among healthcare providers, as population health ties directly into their desire to provide optimal care for their communities. The problem is that it’s incredibly challenging to consolidate the massive amounts of data needed to improve population health and simultaneously devise a nimble technology platform to support it. Use the following best practices to help guide you.
Five Technology Best Practices
When leveraging existing data to get your population health program started, use technology solutions that keep patients at the center of your analysis and look for data enrichment opportunities within the following five technology best practices:
- Think “big picture” technology roadmap—Look for technology solutions that maximize your system’s electronic health record (EHR) and downstream clinical applications’ integration and leverage the EHR’s data model. However, you will also need to consider a “big picture” roadmap that delivers a population health technology platform capable of exploiting unstructured “big data” and structured data. This roadmap may include some or all of the following:
Streaming device data
SMS/text patient communications
Genetic-based patient data
Segmented market data, geographic information system (GIS) data
Internet of Things (IoT) data, via telematics and 5G networks
Patient-provided data such as wearable devices and external streaming device
Radio-frequency identification (RFID)
Enterprise data warehouse
Big data cloud strategy
Predictive and prescriptive analytics
Considering the above list of emerging technologies and data sources and the drive to capture real-time data feedback, it is likely your population health platform will be a combination of technologies that address structured and unstructured data capture and storage wrapped into data governance processes. There is no one-platform technology that can encompass such diverse data management needs and objectives.
Therefore, exercise caution locking into single-vendor solutions, so that you can be flexible with strategic changes requiring new data capabilities. Remember to keep your specific population health problems and objectives in mind as you evaluate how technology will support your solutions. Leverage research and information available on websites, such as www.data.gov, and healthcare professional organizations, to assist with technology strategies that enable your organization to capture and share your data with other health care partners.
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