Is there a supporting technology platform?

Is there a supporting technology platform?

Successfully delivering an anticipatory model of care will require providers to use the wealth of information they have about patients’ health patterns to its fullest potential. To do this, they need the right information technology platform. This will involve new ways of collecting and using information, different methods for billing and costing and new approaches to record management.

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There are typically three stages through which technology and better use of data can support coordinated care: capturing, aggregating and using.

  • Capturing information: To support strong governance, organizations will need technologies that effectively enable information that has previously been separate, to be captured by a coordinated system. In the recent past this would have needed a large-scale reworking of technologies, but now this can be developed in a way that leaves much of the old repositories of data in place.
  • Aggregating information: A coordinated care pathway requires aggregated data from each stage of care to flow between organizations, following the patient. Having all of the available data aggregated in one place and accessible all at once is crucial if clinicians are to use it to improve the efficiency and quality of care.
  • Using information: Within traditional models of healthcare a lot of data is acquired by clinicians and provider organizations, which they themselves do not use. Patients provide the same information to different providers at different stages of the pathway – whether in conversation with clinicians or through diagnostic tests.

In a coordinated model of care, the data that has been acquired by one organization can be used by another without the cost of acquiring it again. This not only saves organizations time and money, it can dramatically improve the efficiency and quality of care that patients experience, as they do not have to tell their story over and over again or undergo additional testing. However, for this data to be most effective, the technology platform must allow it to be quickly accessible.

Making it personal

There are a number of activities in each of these three stages that an information system must deliver in a coordinated model of care.

For example, to obtain the right information and to get the most out of their relationship with patients and the public, it is essential to develop a single patient portal where patients can interact with their healthcare provider (or insurer) in an individualized way. In other industries, most notably retail and distribution, customer portals provide a central means by which individuals and organizations learn about each other’s preferences and personal needs. The same approach can easily be applied to a person’s health insurance portal.

There is a strong incentive for healthcare organizations to use that portal for more and more functions: the more a person uses the portal, the more the organization knows about that individual and his or her lifestyle and wellness patterns.

Most health systems are just beginning their journey to build a technology infrastructure that fully supports coordinated care. Some of the early challenges to address include:

  • Instituting a patient identification – a ‘master’ patient index must be in place to ensure that patients can be correctly identified and tracked across all care settings.
  • Enhancing the ‘liquidity’ of data – all the participants in the care continuum hold unique data assets that are valuable to other caregivers. Sharing this data will enhance the ability to identify patterns of behavior and wellness, develop appropriate interventions and track patient outcomes.
  • Understanding how to analyze the massive amounts of clinical data that will be available if the previous two stages are achieved.

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