Since the HITECH Act, consumers have been generating more data than analysts know what to do with. Add to that interest in the quantified self movement, and there’s no question. We’re swimming in numbers. Insights have been slower to follow.
There are 150 exabytes of healthcare data. That’s 150 billion gigabytes of healthcare information, as shared by digital health experts at the LifeScience Alley summit September 15. A key challenge emerging from the exploration, creation and adoption of digital health isn’t how we collect the data. It’s, “What do we do with it?”
Companies like OptumInsight and UnitedHealthcare see the new data, not as a burden but rather valuable insight channel to help make healthcare less intrusive and more cost/patient effective.
New healthcare data collection methods mean more insight
Implementing new ways to collect data represents one step toward gathering usable insights, according to John Cosgriff, Senior Vice President, Medicare and Retirement, UnitedHealthcare. That means collecting data not just at the point of care, but where consumers live and work — in their homes. He recommends looking for opportunities to install devices in consumers’ apartments and houses. He says the benefits are especially evident for older patients or those struggling to manage chronic health issues. For the elderly, data that indicates a significant weight gain is a key predictor of a future adverse health event.
Save with in home healthcare IoT technology
IoT devices to collect data in patients homes could also improve care for patients living with chronic diseases. The potential for the devices are many. Nonadherence could trigger a house call, so patients stay on track with their medication regimes. As we know, this would translate into very real savings as nonadherence is costly. Devices in the homes of super utilizers could provide the insight that prevents another costly and tax consumptive ER visit.
John Cosgriff says the key to successful installation of in-home IoT devices is a commitment to human-centered design so the devices feel integrated, not intrusive.
Focus on interoperability to increase EHR value
By tying more big data into the EHR, information collected via other means becomes more accessible to clinicians. Interoperability is essential to achieve this aim. By centralizing the data into one source of transferrable patient truth, care becomes more continuous with historical data captured rather than episodic with information fragmented between the various providers visited throughout the course of the patient’s life.
Kyle Pak, Chief Product Strategist for OptumInsight, believes once more incentive exists to implement IoT technology, adoption will increase. That incentive is value-based care rather than fee-for-service.
Barriers to collecting data to generate insights remain. Interoperability is a continue struggle. How can data follow patients between cities? Will the government ever mandate this? Listening to both leaders, Kyle and John, at the LifeScience Alley: Leading the Conversation session, it’s clear that just because we can collect data doesn’t mean we should. But if we do, and do it well, the potential to create further connections between patients and physicians exponentially increases.