Using data and automation to empower the patient experience
It’s not even close to an understatement to say that the COVID pandemic disrupted a whole host of health services… from routine GP and health provider visits, right through to delayed and cancelled surgeries; especially any that had been labelled as ‘non-urgent care’.
Even now, health care professionals are struggling to catch up.
In England alone (discounting Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland entirely) the number of patients awaiting treatment is the highest since records began and with limited resources it could take overwhelmed health services years to get back on schedule.
On the assumption the health sector isn’t about to see a massive influx of cash then, the question becomes… “how do we create more efficiency with the tools we already have?”
The answer is of course technology. Specifically big data and automotive technologies.
Hospital level health technology has been slowly entering patient’s homes for a while now, with that pace only increasing during the pandemic, with an understandable drive to free up as many beds as possible during the crisis.
The tech patients used to only be able to access in a ward or GP’s surgery, has become common place in their homes.
Lifting equipment in the case of frequent fallers, blood pressure monitoring kits, ECGs and oxygenation saturation readers, blood glucose readers for diabetics… these can and are, all now prescribed to patients to be taken home or even bought outright should they wish.
As well as reducing bed occupancy however, that’s also had the unexpected side effect of empowering people, putting them in charge of their own health which has led to more reassured, better educated, calmer and ultimately safer and healthier patients.
This is still an emerging trend in the health sector so goes by many names… remote patient monitoring (RPM), patient-generated health data (PGHD) or even just the simple, wellness tracking.
What that all instantly says to anyone familiar with the technology sector is that there’s an untapped resource here, instantly available for the improvement of health care efficiency.
The more access we have into patients lives (suitably and thoroughly anonymised of course), the more data we have and as anyone in the tech industry will tell you… the more data you have, the more insights you can draw.
What that means is that there’s a current opportunity within the health sector as a whole to use automation and artificial intelligence to collate and analyse that data for new, exciting and cutting-edge opportunities.
Ways that will be infinitely familiar to the tech sector but are still in their infancy in the public health industries.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘low hanging fruit’ opportunities, where something as simple as the routine collection and logging of analytical data from chronic condition management tools through automation can be correlated against other work flows and data sets with some simple AI to create huge increases in the efficiency of patient care.
The data from such workflows, collected from home reading machines, could be used to shape, empower and improve the accuracy of diagnostics and the implementation of patient treatment plans.
With the right infrastructure and tools at both ends (in the home a as well as GP surgeries and hospitals) these RPM or PGHD technologies would be capable of generating complex treatment plans based on current or future best practise guidelines.
Although the tech sector will be well used to this concern, it’s worth pointing out here that these tools aren’t about replacing anyone. They’re designed to empower both the patient and practitioner, removing repetitive tasks and freeing people up for more important jobs, whilst offering deeper insights all at the same time.
Any generated treatment plan would be seen as a suggestion only, with an expert looking over and approving it… except instead of having to draw it all up themselves it can be created at the touch of a button and then just modified as they see fit based on their years of experience.
That means, faster, more accurate and more personal care… with the health provider needing to spend less time on paperwork and more time on the patient.
Health data is a resource that is only going to grow in the coming years but third-party technology providers like cloudThing are happy to demonstrate what’s possible today.