Goals of the Connected Patient Network
In today’s tech-driven, connected world, patients are turning to digital sources first for health information. Every day, tens of thousands of patients log on to online health communities to discuss their condition and share ideas. But people aren’t just searching for information; increasingly, they’re generating and sharing health data and knowledge online. And providers, health systems and pharma recognize that uniting this effort into a connected universe could revolutionize the standard approach to health care.
Connected Healthcare Ecosystem
Creating a connected healthcare ecosystem, where patient information can be shared and accessed digitally in real time, can unite providers, specialists, pharma, payer, patients, and caregivers as a connected care team. Regardless of network affiliation or location, this digital care team is able to align on patient diagnosis and support ongoing treatment recommendations. This connected ecosystem then takes the guesswork out of whether one physician’s guidance might impact another and supports a combined approach to comorbidities. Uniting all this information in a digital ecosystem ensures that all vested parties have the same information. And allowing patients to engage in the ecosystem, uploading self-reported measurements, allows the care team to capture a wider glimpse of patient health, and identify lifestyle challenges that may be prohibiting better outcomes.
(More) Patient Engagement
Through the adoption of connected devices, wearables, and smartphones, patients today have more insight into their health than ever before. These devices also hold a wealth of information that can be used to develop a unique patient profile in a connected ecosystem. This connectivity also means that patients can take more ownership of their health throughout their journey. Digital insights into routine health metrics, in addition to diagnosis and medication management, enable patients to become more engaged in the elements that can contribute to better health. When this information can be exchanged with their provider and establishing a two-way communication stream has shown to improve patient engagement and adherence to clinical directions and long-term care. By giving patients greater visibility into their own health, patients report an increase in better health practices, and assuming a more active role in their treatment. This connected environment supports the lives of patients, with encouragement from their care team, and direct insight on how patients are progressing toward that goal.
A central benefit of a connected patient network is the increased visibility for all parties. A connected ecosystem removes the uncertainty around information, and whether providers are operating from the same information. While current EHR systems support health portability and information exchanges, those systems are often limited in their functionality and exclude outside patients. A connected ecosystem where patients can gain insight into their own health records improves transparency and helps to build patient trust. This extends to even small elements such as medication use or appointment updates. Increased visibility into the care system helps to remove patient uncertainty, reduces the risk of misinformation, and provides greater insight into the larger care picture.
Reducing Lag Times
The issue of lag times a pervasive throughout the healthcare industry, from awaiting diagnostic test results to payer approvals on surgeries, they can impact quality care for patients. However, a connected network means (in theory) that lag times are reduced as care decisions are made from all the same shared information. In an emergent setting, reducing lag times can mean the difference of life and death; in more acute settings it can help to reduce the impact of an injury or prevent medical mistakes. This is all possible with a connected digital ecosystem, where all parties can view patient information in real-time, and process approvals in digital formats. Medisafe recently launched a new digital document exchange to help process approvals for patients and payers, that enables medication approvals to happen in a span of five minutes instead of 24 days. This reduction in lag times means patients can start medication therapy sooner, and work toward improved outcomes. While this step is one of many areas where lag times can impact care, imagine how these reductions could transform a broader healthcare system where decisions are made in the moment, and waiting is reduced to minutes instead of days.
There are many reasons why a more connected patient network stand to improve the healthcare system as we know it. At its core is the commitment to improve patient outcomes and support the delivery of quality care. With technology transforming the delivery of care and reimaging how patients manage their health, adding a connected network could become the new standard for patient engagement and health information transparency that patient advocates and health care leaders have long awaited.