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Customer Experience and Design

What does the Future of Healthcare Data Look Like?

Industry Today
Healthcare ranks as the largest industry in the world and is responsible for generating over $4.5 billion in revenue. While the United States is home to only 5% of the total world population, US residences are responsible for nearly half ($2.2 billion) of annual healthcare expenditures. The industry provides employment to over 15 million Americans and ranks 8th for fastest growing occupation field. It is highly regulated, requires tight technical security, is data rich and yet it is plagued with poor IT infrastructure that hampers communication and efficiencies.

Industry Moving Forward
Why do we care about infrastructure and communication? Because data is at the crux of recent regulations and proposed solutions aimed at changing the industry. How important is this health care data to solutions and regulation? This image accurately captures why IT systems must be revamped to capture the appropriate data and how it can be used to drive business and clinical decisions. It also reminds us that EMRs and HIEs are an obvious must, but that patient portals, mHealth, social media and cloud technologies are also sources for data – and will become more valuable in the future.

A colleague of mine recent displayed how data capture and transfer will change the FACE of healthcare. He’s right – how care is delivered is changing and will continue to change as the more tech-savvy patients begin to force the industry to acknowledge them and the way to treat advanced illnesses changes. This will force providers will embrace the power that alternative healthcare solutions provide. While some are still leering and stuck on certain short-comings, others see the value in portals and understand when and how to use them.

mHealth is a form of mobile health. Essentially, it is a way to deliver healthcare via cell phones or tablets. It is praised for cost savings, quality improvements and its success for managing chronic illnesses. How important is this to healthcare? Ask HHS, who has cited chronic illnesses as the most expensive, growing and troubling healthcare problem and has handed out grants for mHealth ventures.

Social Media
Social media is a medium that fits into the future models of care. It serves as an information medium to reach better solutions with lower costs. While it is thought that many shy away from using social media to collect health information, reports confirm that 58% of individuals use it to self-diagnose. As these figures rise, providers must figure out how to get into this space and get the right information to patients and encourage patients who are “shopping” for services to get the right services.

The point here is simple – don’t focus on meeting government mandates. No business gets a leg up by doing the bare minimum. The goal of industries in a capitalistic society to stay far enough of government regulations to differentiate themselves from competitors but not to increase costs unnecessarily. Those at operating organizations within this “zone” will be poised for success.

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