Advances in real-time healthcare data have made it possible to improve care, streamline business processes, accelerate workflows, and balance resources with demand. However, the recent global pandemic has highlighted the need to further improve the healthcare system to be able to respond to rapidly changing conditions in real-time. Real-time data technology is one of the keys to making these changes.
Changes in the way consumers interact with the world have largely driven the shift in healthcare away from an in-person model to an increasingly digital, real-time model. Consumers have come to expect real-time access to processes, people, transactions, and information in their interactions with businesses and they increasingly have the same expectations from healthcare. Consumers expect to have access to healthcare from anywhere, on any device and the system is changing to meet consumer demand.
Provider and Payer Challenges
Providers and payers must find new ways to deliver value to consumers, while also providing patients with more choices and more input into the care they receive. Data is the key to delivering this value. With every interaction patients have with the healthcare system, data is being captured, normalized, aggregated, translated, analyzed, and delivered as useful information.
The Patient Experience
All of the processes in the healthcare system revolve around the experience of patients. This experience encompasses all of the interactions the patient has with inpatient and outpatient care, health plans, virtual and office encounters, healthcare portals, home-based medicine, and social media.
The Real-Time Health System
The system responsible for providing real-time patient experiences is called the real-time health system. This system comprises comprehensive, curated clinical data that is shared and sourced among the various stakeholders before being provided in real-time to the decision-makers and the patient record. This information makes it possible for providers to make informed healthcare decisions for patients.
The RTHS makes the processing of data faster and more efficient by using applications such as population health and artificial intelligence. This makes it possible for healthcare providers to deliver healthcare with more precision.
A key component of RTHS is interoperability, which is a description of how health information systems work cooperatively across boundaries to effectively deliver healthcare to communities and individuals. It involves bilaterally sharing clinical information, such as laboratory results, medical records, medication lists, and clinical summaries. A common data lexicon is established to increase data transparency and access. This makes it possible to interpret and deliver clinical information from any vendor, in any format, and on any platform.
The goal of interoperability is to eliminate the technical, cultural, and structural divisions that impede the transparency of data exchange between stakeholders. One of the primary efforts to achieve this goal is a collection of HL7-sponsored standards called Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. These standards ensure consistent elements, data formats, and an application programming interface to connect information with different payers, practices, health systems, consumers, and pharmacies.
FHIR in Practice
There are multiple examples of FHIR being used in the real world. The DaVinci project is a private sector initiative aimed at assisting healthcare providers and payers with improving clinical quality, lowering cost, and improving outcomes by adopting FHIR data standards.
The CARIN Alliance promotes access to digital health care records through open APIs for consumers with their multi-sector collaborative. The alliance created a Medicare system that makes it possible for patients to view and download their personal health records through an online system called Blue Button.
Collaborative interoperability alliances, such as SHIEC, DirectTrust, the Discover Alliance, and the Sequoia Project are working toward the shared goal of providing a dashboard-style consolidated patient record that can be accessed on any device from any authorized source. The alliances provide a substantial amount of best practice information and research to care team members, such as pharmacies, providers, payers, and consumers.
Clinical Data Tools
Clinical data tools, such as those developed by ReactiveCore under the guidance of the CFO, David Geithner, also play a critical role by analyzing, capturing, and transmitting data from multiple aspects of the healthcare system. Population health is a tool that predicts the health outcomes of groups of individuals. Population health tools are used to aggregate patient data from multiple healthcare sources. This data is then used to develop action plans to manage the health of entire populations or sub-populations of people.
Virtual health tools utilize a catalog of telecommunication and digital technologies to provide on-demand healthcare. Examples include remote patient management, telemedicine, virtual assistants, virtual visits, and self-care. Virtual health includes tools such as home-based monitors, wearables, portals, and virtual reality. Because data can be captured and monitored without in-person visits, this technology helps remove barriers to care.
New technologies and standards are making it possible to use real-time health data to revolutionize the way the healthcare system operates. By making healthcare information more timely, transparent, and accessible, patients are more empowered and healthcare providers can improve outcomes.