CIO Dashboard: 3 Ways Technology is Transforming Care Management

ATN-300InsightaaS: CIO Dashboard is a blog run by PwC principal Chris Curran. In this post, guest blogger James Selden (also of PwC) look at three ways in which more enlightened IT strategies can help improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery.

Selden starts by observing that "the current healthcare system isn’t working" - a statement that is clear in context (the US market), and at least somewhat true in virtually every jurisdiction. He then drills down into how improved IT use might enable better outcomes. The first is electronic medical records (EMRs), which remain a thorny issue: InsightaaS's research has shown that benefits and responsibilities/costs are poorly matched across the provider, payer and research communities.

The second and third examples - mobile health (mHealth) and Fast Data - expand the discussion in useful directions. It's generally recognized that mobile technology can improve healthcare delivery in many ways, and Selden makes a case that spans locating physicians, avoiding counterfeit drugs and providing better treatment for burn victims. The "fast data" discussion breaks new ground, differentiating between Big Data that can support new types of analysis, and Fast Data that responds to the time-sensitive needs of the healthcare industry. Selden's conclusion - that "there is still significant opportunity to cross collaborate and marry strategic interests between business and IT" - is indisputably true, and of high importance in healthcare. Guidance on the key issues in areas like mHealth will be important not just in the US, but around the world.

t’s no secret that the current healthcare system isn’t working. Though well-intentioned, the original model was not built for today’s complex healthcare environment where fragmentation and integration co-exist. Private practice physicians proliferated. As a result, the centralized communication needed to deliver a holistic perspective of the patient’s care that would have managed rising costs, improved patient utilization and provided optional health outcomes was never met. While the objectives of care management remain the same today, the strategy and execution of care management are undergoing a dramatic transformation powered by technology. Here are three key dimensions at the heart of this metamorphosis:

1) Proliferation of Electronic Medical Records

As the health economy is becoming more consumer-centric, consumers have more information at hand to make more informed decisions. Patients are moving away from large medical centers and opting for nontraditional or niche institutions, such as retail clinics, urgent care centers, and private, mom-and-pop medical practices. A particular patient’s medical history might be dispersed across several different providers — large and small —making it difficult for providers to coordinate care. Providers need an aggregated summary of patient medical history, such as referrals, medical outcomes, PCPs and other ancillary information to make optimal care decisions.

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) provide a single record to track and report medical decision-making. To maintain a consumer-centric orientation, it will be important that transparency, continuity and standardization are not lost in the fray of our complex and fragmented healthcare system. CIOs seem to agree...

Read the entire post on the CIO Dashboard website: Link

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