In a world where we can track our steps, calorie intake, and sleep patterns, it only makes sense that we would also want to keep track of our health information more efficiently. Although Electronic Health Records have been the norm for doctors and patients alike, in Dublin, Ireland, experts like Frances Abeton understand the many benefits of using a connected Digital Health and Research Ecosystem.
What is a Digital Health and Research Ecosystem?
A Digital Health and Research Ecosystem connects patients, providers, and sponsors seamlessly to collect and share relevant data throughout the health and research processes, improving patient health outcomes while reducing health costs, the ultimate drive to a Value-Based Health Care System. By unifying healthcare and research, a digital ecosystem will show a patient’s entire journey, build awareness for clinical trials to increase participation and grow trust between patients, physicians, and sponsors.
Frances Abeton believes that putting the patient at the centre of a Digital Health and Research partnership will drive better health outcomes and health economics. Giving Patient users access and complete control over their health data and history will allow physicians and other providers to see the whole picture and deliver better care. The Digital Health and Research Ecosystem will use Real World Evidence to provide up-to-date information on the best available treatment options, centers and support networks, driving better patient health outcomes. Furthermore, patients will have direct access to clinical research, enabling patients to bring research as a health option to their physician.
Benefits of a Digital Health and Research Ecosystem
One key benefit is removing silos https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/the-next-wave-of-healthcare-innovation-the-evolution-of-ecosystems by allowing all stakeholders access to the same health data. When test results, discharge summaries, and progress notes are all stored in one central location, doctors, patients, and researchers spend less time searching for patient information. This is especially beneficial in emergencies when every second counts. In addition, Digital Health and Research Ecosystems make it easy to share patient information with the entire patient care team, speeding up diagnoses and treatment plans.
Quality of Care Benefits of Digital Health and Research Ecosystem
Digital health and Research ecosystems also help improve patients’ quality of care. With instant access to patient information, providers can make informed decisions about diagnoses and treatment plans. In addition, Digital health and Research Ecosystems can help identify patterns and trends in patient health, leading to better population health management.
For example, if a particular medication is prescribed frequently for a specific condition, the pharmaceutical company may be alerted to possible side effects experienced in real-life settings. In addition, providers can use the data to identify gaps in care and ensure that all appropriate tests and screenings are being performed.
Patient Safety Benefits of Digital Health and Research Ecosystem
Frances Abeton says patient safety is improved when a patient’s entire care team have quick and easy access to accurate patient information. For example, suppose a patient has an allergy to a particular medication. That information will be readily available in the patient’s Digital Health and Research records, accessible by emergency care teams. This can help to prevent dangerous medication errors. In addition, Digital Health and Research Ecosystems can help avoid duplication of tests and procedures, saving time and money.
How To Implement Digital Health and Research Ecosystem
As the healthcare industry continues to grow and evolve, so too must the way that medical practices store and manage patient data. Electronic health records and patient portals were the norms in the past, but today, more businesses need to switch to Digital Health and Research Ecosystem. Implementing a Health and Research Ecosystem can seem daunting, but the transition can be relatively seamless with some planning and forethought.
The first step is to ensure that all the data is in a standard format to enable easy access, meeting the specific needs of each stakeholder; this is now further enabled by the transition to a cloud-based system. Data accessibility is critical; having an ecosystem with open APIs allows for easy access to data, enabling AI capabilities to provide predictive models and decision engines and aiding physicians and researchers when choosing health interventions for patients delivering the best health outcome.
Finally, you’ll need to plan the deployment of the Health and Research Ecosystem to ensure adoption and how these ecosystems will sit within the current Health and Research technology landscape. How can we build an incentive system that enables adoption within the Health and Research landscape? This process can take some time, but it’s worth ensuring that the Health and Research Ecosystem runs smoothly from day one.
Training Your Team
As with any new technology implementation, training is essential. Your staff must be comfortable using the new ecosystem before the real benefits can be obtained. Depending on the size of your healthcare practice, you may need to bring in outside help to train your team. Once everyone is up to speed on using the ecosystem, you can begin harvesting the benefits from the data lake.
Migrating Your Data
The process of migrating your data from paper to electronic records can be time-consuming. Still, ensuring that the Health and Research ecosystem is up and running smoothly from day one is essential. Start by identifying which data you need to migrate, and then create a plan for how you’ll transfer it over to the ecosystem. Depending on the amount of information you have, this process could take weeks or even months. However, this process can be simplified using artificial intelligence that can understand and classify clinical documentation. Natural Language Processing (NLP) applications can analyse unstructured clinical notes on patients and transform the paper-based data into a digital record.
Frances Abeton says that after your data is successfully migrated, you can begin using your ecosystem to gain incredible insights that will improve the quality and efficiency of patient care. A Health and Research ecosystem offers many benefits, including improved accuracy and timeliness of patient information, better population health management, and improved patient safety.
The benefits of the health and research ecosystem are clear. From saving time to improving the quality of care to enhancing patient safety, there are many reasons why providers should switch from just EHRs to a Health and Research Ecosystem. What’s not as clear is why this switch has not been made on a larger scale. One obstacle is the cost of implementing a health and research ecosystem. Another obstacle is resistance from older providers who are comfortable with EHRs. However, as more and more hospitals and practices adopt the health and research ecosystem, it’s only a matter of time before they become the new standard in healthcare.