Digital Disease Management to optimize care and improve patient outcomes

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Patient Generated Health Data (PGHD) Management to Improve Patient Care

February 18, 2020

Optimal Healthcare Data Management Can Achieve Benefits for Patients, Clinicians, and Payers

Patient generated health data (PGHD) is everywhere. There are many healthcare technology apps and devices that assist in patient data collection. Patients are eagerly collecting, tracking, and storing health data such as activity levels, and some are sharing that data with their healthcare providers. Some healthcare providers are utilizing patient data collection to aid in their decision-making to improve patient care. PGHD has the potential to change the healthcare landscape and healthcare stakeholders can leverage PGHD to improve outcomes and reduce costs.

In order to optimally leverage patient generated health data to produce useful insights and improve patient care however, proper patient data collection management is critical as data collected but not properly managed can become useless. Healthcare data is sensitive, personal, and protected by regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule and, as such, healthcare data management can be an intricate process.

When looking to capture, store, and utilize PGHD, healthcare stakeholders need to consider factors such as data privacy and security, data accuracy, data governance, interoperability, and compliance with regulations. Because of this, the process requires careful thought and planning and development of proper PGHD frameworks to ensure optimal healthcare data management and utilization.

What is Healthcare Data Management and Why is it Important?

In a broad sense, healthcare data management is the process of storing, protecting, and analyzing data pulled from diverse sources. Healthcare stakeholders are swamped with patient data collection activities from myriad sources including electronic health records (EHR), electronic medical records (EMR), and of course, PGHD. All these data sources must be effectively managed if the power in the data is to be successfully harnessed and utilized.

“Managing the wealth of available healthcare data allows health systems to create holistic views of patients, personalize treatments, improve communication, and enhance health outcomes.”

Evariant

Optimal healthcare data management,especially with the incorporation of patient generated health data, is important as it provides powerful insights into the patient life story beyond the walls of the medical establishment. This will enable the healthcare provider to better personalize the care offered to patients, improving patient outcomes and reducing costs associated with hospital admissions.

Healthcare data management through healthcare technology and data analytics is invaluable to population health management and precision medicine, driving research and improving health.

Leveraging healthcare technology for best-in-class healthcare data management is also critical if healthcare stakeholders are to remain compliant with regulations. In the era of value-based payments and meaningful use , healthcare data management must be a top priority for all healthcare stakeholders looking to remain relevant and functional in the healthcare space.

Benefits of Optimally Managing Patient Generated Health Data

There are many benefits to be gained from the optimal management of patient data collection and PGHD . There are benefits for a variety of healthcare stakeholders including patients, clinicians, payers, and researchers.

Advantages of Improved Patient Data Collection for Patients

Patients set to benefit from the optimal management of patient generated health data through ways such as:

  • More involvement in their personal healthcare as they take ownership of collecting and sharing PGHD with providers
  • Better engagement and communication with providers
  • Enhanced understanding of health conditions
  • Improved management of health conditions
  • Fewer hospitalizations and reduction in associated costs

Benefits of Optimized Healthcare Data Management for Clinicians

When PGHD is collected, shared with the provider and optimally managed through the use of healthcare technology, clinicians can realize many benefits. These include:

  • A more complete view of the patient’s quality of life over time and beyond the healthcare setting
  • Deeper insight into the patient’s adherence to treatment plans including medication adherence
  • Ability to note trends and intervene in a timely manner before acute episodes of illnesses
  • Better treatment outcomes and reduced hospitalizations
  • Increased patient engagement
  • Better patient retention

Benefits of Well-Managed Patient Data Collection and Management for Payers

Payers in the healthcare space can also benefit from optimal patient data collection and management.  Benefits to payers include:

  • Obtaining value for money by tying reimbursements to shared decision-making between providers and patients through incorporation of PGHD in care decisions
  • Offer incentives for the use of PGHD by providers

Patient Generated Health Data Management Benefits for Researchers

Patient generated health data when properly managed with healthcare technology, can provide a treasure trove of valuable information for researchers helping them to:

  • Conduct comparative effectiveness research to assess medical therapies to determine the best and most cost-effective therapeutic solutions for routine clinical use
  • Advance the field of personalized medicine
  • Develop predictive modelling and analytics
  • Make progress in the field of population health management
  • Monitor patients who are participating in clinical trials

Best Practices in Managing Healthcare Data with Healthcare Technology

Proper healthcare data management can be a daunting task. With the volumes of data that consistently flow into the healthcare system, added to the emerging field of PGHD, healthcare data management can overwhelm even the most seasoned healthcare professional if not done properly. However, the many benefits to be gained by different healthcare stakeholders from optimal healthcare data management, are enough to make the effort worthwhile.

Successfully managing healthcare data with healthcare technology to achieve the greatest benefits involves implementing measurement systems, as was executed in several healthcare case studies.  These measurement systems are designed on certain principles, such as: 

  • fitting the PGHD into the flow of care and using the data to make it easier for clinicians to do their jobs and for patients to engage in self-management and make informed decisions
  • ensuring the PGHD measurement system is co-designed with healthcare stakeholders engagement
  • engaging with patients and clinicians about how to use the PGHD
  • merging PGHD with data from other sources (clinician reports, medical records, claims) for optimal utility of the data
  • continuously improving the PGHD measurement system based on the experiences of users and new healthcare technology

Some healthcare stakeholders have begun optimizing patient generated health data, utilizing it to generate actionable insights and guide decision-making. A 2015 survey among healthcare executives found that 73% reported a positive return on investment (ROI) in healthcare technology  involving PGHD such as wearables that track fitness and vital signs.

“The use of such Digital Health apps in just five patient populations where they have proven reductions in acute care utilization (diabetes prevention, diabetes, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation) could save the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $7 billion per year.”

IQVIA

A congestive heart failure remote monitoring program initiated between Northern Arizona Healthcare and partners aimed to improve the management of patients with chronic diseases and/or high-risk conditions, by connecting patients with home-based medical devices and their care providers to ensure proper patient data collection and sharing of PGHD. An analysis of the program comparing data six months before and after implementation found an achievement of:

  • An average 44% reduction in readmission to the emergency room
  • An average 64% decrease in the number of days hospitalized
  • A reduction of $92,000 in per patient hospital charges

This program is a clear indication of the benefits to healthcare stakeholders that can be derived through successful healthcare data management.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Spine Center in Lebanon, NH, is a case study in the optimal use of PGHD to improve treatment outcomes. Patients complete a survey at home using a patient portal or in-office using a touchpad prior to their first visit at the center. The data are analyzed in real-time to create a summary report that is fed into the flow of care for use by the patient and the care provider. The provider also inserts some core clinical data elements into the clinical report and all information gets stored in a data warehouse for analysis and use in the care of the patient.

Overall results from a survey on the system found that over 80% of patients rated the system as“excellent to good” and one-third indicated that the system had led to positive changes in their visits. Approximately 50% of clinicians reported that the system saved time.

The Swedish Rheumatology Quality (SRQ) registry at the Karolinska University hospital, in Stockholm, Sweden, is another example where patient generated health data is incorporated into clinical care for optimal benefits.The SRQ registry is web-enabled and integrates real time, standardized data provided by patients, clinicians, and diagnostic tests. This data is used to improve the outcomes of care for individual patients, at the point of service as care is provided, and in the patient’s home to support self-management, as well as for quality improvement and research.

Efforts by patient care organizations to fit Digital Health tools into clinical practice has progressed, with 540 current clinical trials in the U.S. incorporating these tools and an estimated 20% of large health systems shifting from pilot Digital Health programs to more full-scale rollouts.
IQVIA

Researchers can benefit from well-executed healthcare data management. In one study of a framework for smartphone-enabled PGHD analysis, researchers at the Scripps Translational Science Institutelooked at blood pressure (BP) readings taken at variable times by persons in a study using a smartphone. They were able to detect an approximately 2 mmHg decrease in BP over a six-month trial, despite considerable intra- and inter-individual variation. This technique could prove useful for researchers in future study designs to analyze data as the field of digital medicine grows.

Of course, proper healthcare data management needs healthcare technology, and digital disease management solutions are available on the market to help with this. Ensure that selected solutions offer unified storage that is scalable and highly efficient to meet the requirements of multiple use cases.

Healthcare has become more patient-centric and policies such as value-based care will continue to push this movement forward. Patient generated health data has major potential for improving care, increasing patient engagement, lowering costs, and reducing wastes. However, there are many intricacies to properly leveraging PGHD to realize all these benefits. The process must include systems for proper healthcare data management which is inextricably linked to healthcare technology solutions.

Contact us at Acuma Health, where we assist healthcare stakeholders understand the digital health landscape including the benefits of PGHD, and provide you with solutions to solve your healthcare data management problems.





Data Collected from Seizure Monitors Can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs of Managing Chronic Conditions

Data Collected from Seizure Monitors Can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs of Managing Chronic Conditions

January 8, 2020

Patient Generated Health Data from Smart Watches Ensures Accurate Seizure Tracking and Reporting

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological illnesses with estimates of approximately 3.4 million people in the US experiencing active epilepsy in 2015. Despite advancements in treatment options and optimal medication management, nearly one-third of patients with epilepsy continue to have seizures. Seizures can negatively impact the overall quality of a person’s life due to their unpredictable nature, occurring at anytime and anywhere. Healthcare technology  has come to the aid of people who have seizures with the development of seizure monitors or seizure alert devices that can detect the onset of a seizure and make an alert so that the individual suffering the seizure can be aided quickly. Good seizure monitors can also provide clinicians with detailed seizure data that can be used in the management of epilepsy.

There are many seizure alert devices on the market including seizure bed alarms or mattress sensors, seizure bracelets and smart watches, and camera/video/infrared devices. The report, “Seizure detection, seizure prediction, and closed-loop warning systems in epilepsy,” explored various seizure detection and prediction systems and noted that accelerometers such as smart watches, detect changes in velocity and direction and may serve to detect motor seizures such as tonic–clonic or myoclonic seizures. The authors found that a smart watch was able to detect 7 out of 8 tonic–clonic seizures in a pilot study. It further noted that the SmartWatch, manufactured by Smart Monitor Inc.:

·         utilized pattern recognition and feature analysis in its built-in seizure detection algorithm

·         can synchronize with a smartphone application via Bluetooth to transmit seizure data to the user’s mobile phone

·         the app can then contact caretakers to alert them of ongoing seizures

It is evident that the patient generated health data collected by smart watches can provide accurate tracking and reporting of seizures. Seizure monitor technology and seizure alert devices are very useful for patient engagement and can produce improved patient outcomes through use of the patient generated health data that they provide. The use of seizure monitors such as smart watches allows for early intervention in patients experiencing seizures, preventing injury, lessening the severity of the seizure, and potentially preventing sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Seizure monitors also provide objective data that can be leveraged by healthcare providers to adjust therapy, allowing for better management of the patient with epilepsy and resulting in cost savings from reduced hospitalizations.

To find out more about how smart watches and patient generated health data can ensure better management of patient care and costs, download the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology to Improve Management of High Risk Patients.


Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

October 8, 2019

Ten Patient Engagement Strategies for Healthcare Stakeholders

Healthcare in the US has moved away from a fee-for-service model and is embracing value-based care largely driven by policies, regulations, and health care reform initiatives including the Affordable Care Act, and Meaningful Use. To maintain sustainability and remain competitive, healthcare stakeholders are developing and implementing new strategies to help them improve patient outcomes and the value and quality of the service they provide. Patient engagement, where providers and patients work together to improve health outcomes, is one such approach being embraced by healthcare stakeholders and has become integral to the success of healthcare organizations.

Here are 10 patient engagement strategies for healthcare stakeholders looking to improve the quality of care they offer:

1. Develop and implement patient engagement policies and procedures

Policies are necessary to demonstrate the commitment of the organization to patient engagement as well as to ensure that all staff and other stakeholders are aware that patient engagement is a focus of the organization. Specific procedures must be developed for all staff to follow to ensure that the policy is adhered to and the goal is achieved.

2. Develop a patient engagement framework

This framework should define the organization’s vision for patient engagement, stating clearly what the organization should look like when the patient engagement strategy is working. It will guide the organization in planning for, implementing and evaluating patient engagement activities across all departments and in all areas that can impact patient engagement. Some of these areas include; personal care and health decisions, organizational program or service design, delivery of service across the care continuum, and incorporating the patient’s family as well as other healthcare stakeholders into the process. Define the goals and expected outcomes for successful patient engagement at the individual level (patients and families), the healthcare team level, and the organizational level. The policies and procedures developed should form part of the patient engagement framework.

3. Create a culture of patient engagement

For any patient engagement strategy to be successful there must be buy-in from all stakeholders. Ensure that the organization creates a culture of patient engagement by involving staff, providers, and patients as much as possible in the creation of the patient engagement vision, policies and procedures, and framework. Creating a strong culture of patient engagement can support high quality health care.

4. Leveraging healthcare technology

Numerous healthcare technologies are available that can support patient engagement for healthcare organizations; implement the technologies that are right for your organization. Some of these technologies include:

  • EMR/EHR
  • Patient portals
  • Telephone calls/SMS/Email
  • Social media
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Mobile health applications
  • Telehealth/telemedicine
  • Digital disease management solutions
  • Patient engagement solutions

Employing the right technology and services is key to successful patient engagement.

When adopting healthcare technologies, it is best to implement cloud-based services and software. You must also ensure that solutions are compliant with the different healthcare regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Meaningful Use mandates.

5. Educating patients and healthcare providers

Educating both patients and healthcare providers is fundamental to the success of any patient engagement strategy. Educational interventions for patients can focus on areas such as preventative health; safety improvement (including medication management); and managing their conditions, especially for those with chronic illnesses. It can take different formats such as holding educational sessions (including food demonstrations) in a hospital, clinic, or the community; pamphlets; brochures; YouTube videos; videos playing in waiting rooms; information on the organization’s website; and sending text messages with information such as medication safety reminders.

Healthcare providers need to be educated on the importance of the role of the patient in their own care and how to engage with patients. Educate providers to use lay language to communicate with patients instead of medical jargon, have open discussions on patient engagement, and include patient engagement in teaching sessions and workshops.

6. Touch points during patient visits

Look for opportunities to engage the patient when they visit the organization. There are many touch points that can be leveraged to engage the patient and improve their experience and satisfaction. Some touch points in a typical primary care setting and how they can be utilized for patient engagement include:

  • Waiting room – TV, print materials, posters
  • Reception area – receptionist (at check-in and check-out), computer kiosk, follow-up email and correspondence
  • Nurse’s examination room – nurse
  • Doctor’s examination room – doctor, posters, print materials

7. Incentives and rewards

Try to engage patients by offering incentives and rewards for active involvement in their healthcare. This can include providing discounts or entries into a raffle for meeting health outcomes set between the provider and the patient such as lower blood pressure or reduced Body Mass Index (BMI). The organization can partner with local gyms to offer a discount on membership to its patients.

8. Engage the patient as part of the healthcare team

Patients will feel more engaged and empowered when they are actively involved in the decision-making surrounding their healthcare. Interact with and enable patients to become involved through methods such as making online payments, viewing test results, scheduling appointments online, requesting prescription refills, and utilizing patient-generated health data.

Healthcare organizations can engage patients in planning committees, patient and public engagement groups, patient advisory committees or in prospective surveys to encourage change.

WHO Report

9. Empower caregivers

According to an American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report of 2015, 43.5 million adults in the US had acted as unpaid caregiver to a child or adult in the previous 12 months. With so many persons functioning as caregivers, a good patient engagement strategy must incorporate the caregivers as well. Caregivers play an active role in the healthcare of patients, so empowered with the right education and provided with the proper tools and support, caregivers can have a significant positive impact on the success of any patient engagement strategy.

10. Measure progress and make changes

To ensure the organization’s patient engagement strategy is successful and sustained, it must be continuously measured, and changes made where necessary. Gather feedback from patients, their families, staff, and other healthcare stakeholders who have an impact on the strategy. Conduct surveys and assessments and use all results and feedback to revise and revamp the strategy. Remove what is not working and implement new viable suggestions.

If you are looking to develop or enhance the patient engagement strategies in your healthcare organization and seeking dedicated software tools for improving the care you deliver, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution may be right for you.

Contact Acuma Health and request a consultation today or get started by downloading the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology.


Patient Engagement Strategies Can Assist Healthcare Stakeholders with a Competitive Advantage

September 24, 2019

Healthcare Technology: Patient Engagement Solutions Allow Progressive Healthcare Organizations to Lead the Way to Patient Empowerment

The healthcare system is complex, involving multiple stakeholders all surrounding the patient at the centre. With the advent of value-based care driven by the Affordable Care Act, healthcare organizations and providers are seeking new approaches to improving patient outcomes and the value and quality of the service they provide. One such approach has been through patient engagement.

What is patient engagement?

The World Health Organization describes patient engagement as “the process of building the capacity of patients, families, carers, as well as health care providers, to facilitate and support the active involvement of patients in their own care, in order to enhance safety, quality and people-centeredness of health care service delivery.” Patient engagement is being increasingly recognized as an essential component of health care and major health care reform initiatives such as Meaningful Use, Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), have patient engagement as the goal.

Patient engagement is: “Providers and patients working together to improve health.”

HIMSS

Why is patient engagement important?

Patient engagement is important for many reasons including:

  • Improved health outcomes – engaged patients have better outcomes. Patients who are more engaged in the decision-making surrounding their healthcare tend to be healthier, show better adherence to medication, and have better outcomes.
  • Patient retention -patients who feel highly engaged by their healthcare provider are more likely to remain with that provider.
  • Reduced costs -healthcare organizations that invest in healthcare technology to aid in patient engagement, ultimately realize reduced costs as technology such as the Electronic Medical/Health Record (EMR/EHR) can help to improve workflow through the use of shared information, reduce or eliminate paperwork and assure accurate information. Technology can also help to reduce errors, improve scheduling, insurance, and payments.
  • Organizational competitiveness – a healthcare organization that is fully engaged with its patients functions more efficiently, offers patients options such as online appointment scheduling, and communicates better with patients, among other things. All this provides the organization a competitive edge over other organizations that do not have patient engagement tools and infrastructure in place.
  • Improved patient satisfaction – patient engagement can improve patient satisfaction as increased communication with their healthcare providers and receiving more information regarding their health can result in patients becoming more confident about their health status and ultimately being more satisfied.

Healthcare Technology for Patient Engagement

Patient engagement is now an essential component to the success of healthcare organizations. Progressive healthcare organizations are developing and implementing patient engagement strategies and solutions that can assist them in improving the quality of healthcare services they deliver and provide them with a competitive advantage. Healthcare technology plays a major role in any patient engagement strategy and as such, progressive healthcare organizations are utilizing available technologies and implementing processes to digitally transform the way they engage with patients including:

  • Allowing patients to book appointments and request prescription refills online
  • Enabling patients to access their test results online
  • Communicating with patients via email, SMS, video calls, etc.
  • Utilizing social media and YouTube videos to provide information to patients
  • Developing patient portals that integrate with EMR/EHR systems and can facilitate patient registration, online bill payments, secure messaging, among other things
  • Incorporating data generated from wearable devices and mHealth apps that patients are using as part of their care process
  • Implementing Digital Disease Management Solutions that can collect and leverage patient generated health data for improved patient outcomes
  • Utilizing telehealth/telemedicine to provide patients with specialist care that is not available in their setting or to reach patients in remote/difficult to access areas
  • Acquiring patient engagement solutions and tools

“A study out of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that medication adherence increased from 54% to 73% when automated telecommunication-based reminders were used.”

If you are looking to develop or enhance patient engagement strategies in your healthcare organization and are seeking dedicated software tools for improving the care you deliver, Acuma Health’s Digital Disease Management Solution may be right for you.

Get started by downloading the Guide to Leveraging Healthcare Technology here.