Monday 6 March 2023

How Data Continues To Revolutionize the Future of Patient Care

 Image:by artistraman on Pixabay, license here.

Whether you are a provider that wants to deliver or a patient who desires better care, data will create the pathway. Without it, the road to better patient health and a more extensive arsenal of resources for practitioners is dimly lit. 


By Indiana Lee


Data has been and will continue to be vital in transforming patient care, starting with fueling a personalized approach.

A personalized approach

Yes, data is great for identifying patterns, trends, and similarities in patients and the care they receive. But if data proves anything, it’s that no one patient is the same as another.


So, instead of using healthcare data to develop generalized treatment plans that apply to groups, patient care can be transformed with a personalized approach. Every piece of data collected about a patient can be used to develop a plan for short and long-term healthcare tailored to them.

For example, doctors are sending more patients home with wearable biosensors that help them self-monitor their health at home. These tools collect and analyze things like heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure, physical activity, and so forth.


This data is then sent to doctors in real-time. And with it, they can make faster adjustments to a patient’s care to get them on track to better health. They can also monitor a patient’s health long-term and ensure they get the help they need at critical points in the journey.


As high-tech devices and data analytics merge, medical professionals can use what they learn to continue to advance patient care.

The decision isn’t “healthcare or…” anymore

Healthcare hasn’t just been a little unaffordable to many people. It’s much more severe than that. In the U.S. alone, nearly 26 million people live without health insurance. This means that 26 million people have to regularly ask themselves, “Should I pay for this healthcare service I really need or the light bill? Should I put food on the table or go get this prescription?”


These essentially “life or death” healthcare-related decisions are still happening, but a little less than before the industry started leaning heavily into data. The insurance, payment, and other financial data collected by healthcare facilities, in particular, have inspired them to make services more affordable and to develop resources for paying for services. 


Data has and will continue to make healthcare services financially realistic for the entire family, rather than stressing about who gets care this week, if anyone at all.

Patients are more empowered to engage

Many patients still have no idea how to access their digital health records, make an appointment online, or look at test results on their patient portals. And they may never be interested in doing so.


But those who appreciate, understand, and access patient portals and medical records online know how it inspires them to become more engaged in their healthcare journey.


Data fuels patient portals and electronic health records (EHRs). Doctors, nurses, patients, and other medical staff constantly add and update medical information in patient portals and EHRs.


The more visible that data is to the patient and across all the healthcare facilities they work with, the more seamlessly they can collaborate to produce better health outcomes.  

Forget affordability and accessibility, telehealth makes care comfortable

Even though telehealth became popular in the pandemic, it’s certainly a form of treatment that’ll stick around for patients far after social distancing requirements lessen. This is seen in Mckinsey & Company’s 2021 Physician Survey, where it was revealed that “60 percent of patients said they agreed that virtual health is more convenient than in-person care for patients.”


Within that same survey, 40 percent of patients would like to use telehealth even after the pandemic ends. With surveys like this, telehealth care obviously fits the needs of some patients way more than in-person care. It provided a level of convenience and comfortability they hadn’t been able to acknowledge with in-person appointments. And because of this, they’re much more satisfied with the option and will continue to use it well after the pandemic.


Consumers were also inspired to use other digital health services, like ordering prescriptions online and getting them delivered to their doorstep.


It used to be that in-person care was the only option. And many who weren’t comfortable with that just didn’t seek the healthcare services they needed. Now, patients can access various medical services from their own homes, and in a way, they can be most comfortable.


To make these services as efficient and engaging as possible, they need data. Data on how and what patients use telehealth for. Data on how they navigate such platforms. Data on what’s working and what isn’t based on patient feedback.

There’s so much data. Are there enough people who understand it?

With the vast amount of data collected through tools and digital platforms, there aren’t nearly enough data professionals in the medical field to understand, use, and teach others how to leverage healthcare data.  And with as much data that healthcare generates, there’s plenty of demand for data professionals to jump into the field.


This Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) article confirms that 30% of the world’s data comes from the healthcare industry. The same report also expects this growth to reach 26% by 2025.


Still, this won’t slow our transition to a more digitally-focused world or diminish the position data analysis and collection have in the healthcare industry. If technology continues to roll out that elevates how we collect, process, and analyze data, data professionals specific to the healthcare industry must too.


Bringing more people into the healthcare industry that understand data and how to use it to transform patient care only contributes to a brighter future.


Data is the key to piecing together personalized treatment plans and addressing holistic health long-term. It makes medical services financially feasible for entire families. It’ll keep inspiring patients to fully engage in their healthcare journeys and make them more comfortable.


And finally, data opens up the opportunity to bring more qualified data professionals into the healthcare industry to better interpret and use data to elevate patient care in the coming years.



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