healthcaretechoutlook

Innovations that Enhance Public Healthcare

By John Kravitz, CIO, Geisinger

John Kravitz, CIO, Geisinger

Over the years, the two contributing factors to the evolution of healthcare industry are the billions of dollars that have been invested in the IT healthcare arena and the numerous electronic health record (EHR) vendors who have enhanced and elevated interoperability and exchange of information. Other contributing factors are the enterprise data warehouses, data platforms, and the ease of analytics, which has become crucial to the process of interoperability. Apart from all this, innovations like artificial intelligence and machine learning have also become an inevitable factor transforming the healthcare sector.

"Patient monitoring and home setting are inevitable to enhance population healthcare environment"

Today, healthcare organizations are on a constant quest to find the best of breed EHR vendors and solution providers, but unfortunately, it is an arduous task. It is an absolute necessity for vendors to meet the criteria for MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System) and MACRA (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015) reporting. Furthermore, transparency has become a priority today for the healthcare consumer. This can be considered as an extension of HIPAA, where the patient information is shareable and the patients can access their healthcare information from a specific application. This will enable them to present data from one physician to another who uses a different healthcare system with ease.

Big Data Solutions for Population Health Management

In our organization, we possess an enterprise data warehouse, which contains structured data, additionally, we have two big data platforms of which one is on cloud and the other on-premise. The one on the cloud is called ‘server healthy intent’, which is used for population health management to identify gaps in healthcare. More than 60,000 patients are registered on this platform, which makes it easier for us to manage and access data. The data of all these patients are fed from disparate electronic health record systems and this information is harnessed from different sources that include the physician’s practice, various hospitals, nursing centers and so on. Moreover, the health information exchange system that we have, serves and benefits the community as all the information and results are brought to the big data platform, which enhances population health management.

Major electronic health record vendors such as Cerner and Apex use their own platform for analytics as they have identified that their customers prefer a one-stop stop solution provider. Cerner uses a protocol known as ‘healthy intent’ and Apex uses a protocol known as ‘healthy planet,’ these population healthcare data analytics platforms aid in closing the gaps in the healthcare sector. From a population health care perspective, big data platforms help us identify the gaps existing in the healthcare sector to a very high extent.

Gaps in Public Healthcare

People are diagnosed with various disease conditions, and as they get older the intensity and the possibility of becoming a patient increases. However, it is a known fact that only five percent of the population contributes to 50 percent of the healthcare cost in the US. This implies that the healthcare of our country has not been efficiently managed. Therefore, our aim should be to control the cost and reduce healthcare expenses for the future of our nation and the people.

This can be made possible by enhancing the healthcare systems and using these systems to keep the patients healthy. Majority of the patients undergo regular examinations to check whether they are physically fit. If the systems assist in keeping the patients up to date for their regular checkup with reminders and personal healthcare data, this will reduce the rate of being hospitalized and will help to reduce the healthcare costs.

Innovations for a Better Future

With the increasing importance of population, health, and environment, and the expansion of patient monitoring and home setting, new possibilities are rising in the healthcare arena. Various tools that enhance patient monitoring and home setting are being introduced day-by-day. These tools can be leveraged in order to monitor the care of the patient and intervene when an alert is received. Innovations like video conferencing and so on should be incorporated in the home setting for the welfare of patients, which will aid to reduce their stay in the hospital, yet receive necessary care.

With technological advancement such as artificial intelligence, the healthcare sector has the potential to undergo sweeping changes. It has the capability of providing personal assistance, scheduling and reminding appointments, walk the patients through the process they are about to undergo and many other features making the healthcare landscape highly effective.

Additionally, informative forums such as Chime enable sharing of information between healthcare information management executives and provide an advanced educational opportunity for the members. This provides a platform to learn and share knowledge. Furthermore, attending various educational sessions and meetings can not only enhance knowledge but also provide an opportunity to meet vendors in the healthcare space who provide big data analytics and other platforms. These present opportunities to understand different perspectives and how telemedicine or telehealth can be better utilized in the patient setting.