Data. Data. Data. The four letter hot button word for Healthcare right now. There is a huge push by both providers and health plans to amass as much data as possible, with the goal of using that data to drive healthcare decisions to the benefit of their patients. This sounds like a great plan! Evidence-based practices have been the gold standard for quite some time, so it only makes sense for organizations to push for data-driven decisions. But how do they accomplish this? How do they convert “Big Data” into information that can be utilized at the individual patient level.
“Big Data in Healthcare” refers to the huge amounts of information that is collected from many sources including: EHRs, imaging, payer records, research, wearables, etc. Big Data is different from standard data for 3 reasons, known as the “3 V’s of Big Data”
1. It is available in incredibly high volume.
2. It moves at high velocity and spans healthcare’s huge digital universe.
3. It is variable in both structure and nature.
Because of the high diversity in formats, types and context, Big Data is very difficult to merge into one universal database. It is also incredibly difficult to process and transform into actionable statistics.
How Can Organizations Obtain Useful Data?
There is no shortage in the availability of patient data. There is however, a shortage of usable data — dfata that is easily interpreted and that lends itself well to future care plan decisions for a patient or population. One of the easiest way to get started is to leverage the devices your patient is already using.
Wearable devices such as Fitbits are widely used across the population. They track things like activity level, heart rate, sleep habits and more. By taping into these devices, providers can obtain real-time data about how their patients spend an average day. This information can then be used to adjust care plans and goals accordingly.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is a sub-category of telehealth that allows patients to use mobile medical devices to update providers on their condition. Common methods used are in-home blood pressure machines, bio-metric scales, heart rate monitors, glucose meters and more. This practice is especially useful for patients who are managing chronic conditions. By receiving frequent updates, providers can notice trends, quickly adjust medication dosage, call an individual in for an appointment, or proactively change care instructions.
Digital Health Apps
Healthcare phone applications are becoming more and more common. One of the often under-rated benefits of deploying these apps in your patient population is the data they can provide. By sending out daily mood assessments to patients, providers can target at-risk patients and provide timely interventions. Geo-fencing can be used to see if patients are visiting areas that are potentially harmful to their recovery. Phone apps also allow for the comparison of patients to determine what specific behaviors drive positive treatment outcomes.
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