Technology Innovations in Health Care – An HDM Interview with Mike Laracy
Recently, Rapid insight CEO, Mike Laracy, was interviewed for Health Data Management’s Visionaries Magazine on Healthcare’s next big trends. Here is the interview, republished from the Visionaries website.
What are the top two or three technology innovations that healthcare organizations need to start thinking about now?
Up to now, the healthcare industry has done a good job of capturing and storing massive amounts of data. But huge investments in EHRs over the last decade have not led to the expected improvements in patient care or cost reductions. The HITECH Act created incentives for technology companies to create products that met the stage 1 criteria for meaningful use, which focused mainly on the capturing of data. Now healthcare organizations need to be thinking about big data and the technologies that can access and process this data to turn it into actionable information. The focus needs to shift toward the utilization of this data to improve patient outcomes and to reduce costs.
With so many innovative technologies coming to the market, how can healthcare organizations prioritize their investments in these solutions in an effort to get the best return on investment?
From a simplistic point of view, it all really comes down to improving patient outcomes and controlling costs. The more a technology is expected to accomplish one or both of these goals, the higher the priority. What also needs to be factored in though is technology Adoption. A technology’s ease of use and the staff’s ability to learn, implement, and adopt that technology should all be taken into account when prioritizing investments in innovative technologies.
With the emphasis on clinical outcomes and patient engagement, the care experience is bound to change. What information technology tools are most likely to change the patient experience?
Access to data, data analytics, and predictive modeling will work to create a level of transparency that has never been seen before in healthcare. Both physicians and patients will be empowered with information that they’ve never had before. Predictive analytics will help to improve patient care, assist patients by providing them with custom information tailored to specifically to them, and ultimately reduce costs.
For example you will be able to visit your physician and see that given your current blood pressure, BMI and other factors, you have a 71% chance of being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes over the next 2 years. But if you can drop 10 pounds and lower your Diastolic blood pressure by 15 points, your Diabetes risk will decrease from 71% to 40%. Taking that a step further, your physician might proactively reach out to you to schedule an appointment if you are predicted to be at high risk of a specific disease.
As another example, a hospital will be able to determine the best course of action to take for a newly admitted surgical patient based on that patient’s probability of developing a MRSA surgical site infection. Or, a hospital might periodically check in with you via text messages and/or phone calls after you’ve been discharged because you’ve been found to have a high probability of readmission.
What benefits has the healthcare industry realized from technology adoption so far – and what benefits can the industry expect to realize in the future?
Adoption of the EHR along with the digitization of more and more data points, have empowered organizations to learn from their data in order to reduce costs and improve outcomes. But the benefits that have been realized so far have been fairly minimal compared to what they have the potential to be. As more healthcare organizations embrace predictive modeling and big data, patients will become better equipped to make decisions that affect their own health, and hospitals and physicians will become better equipped to make decisions that affect their patients’ outcomes. By enabling healthcare organizations to turn data into useful information, the adoption of these technologies will lead to better treatments, better quality of life for patients, and ultimately significant cost reductions.
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