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What's the big-picture impact of HIT on health care?

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | April 14, 2014

The new ecosystem will require different skills from the existing players. For example, both health plans and health systems have to add retail health expertise and the skills necessary to become easy to do business with for consumers. Data-driven healthcare requires the ability to harness analytics to understand and improve the consumer experience.

DMN: In order to connect the continuum of care and enable consumer access to personal health information, a considerable amount of unstructured data must be organized. Can you describe what that entails?

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BT: Most of the unstructured healthcare data is comprised of images and multi-media. Currently, technology for mining data from such unstructured data is not fully developed. However, textual data such as physician’s notes, transcripts, and medication description can be readily mined for meaningful insights and analytics. Big Data and analytics are vital to progress. We are already seeing the impact and value of it in accelerating clinical trial outcomes, determining and practicing evidence-based medicine, and designing personalized treatment plans.
While Big Data and analytics will undoubtedly reshape the healthcare industry, it is only in the earliest stages of transforming individual healthcare organizations. So far, health insurers have been the earliest adopters and users of Big Data for analytics; healthcare providers and caregivers have yet to realize the potential.

DMN: You say that health care leaders still have a way to go. How can they prepare for the analytics-driven industry-wide transformation?

BT: Both Payers and Providers must acknowledge the new realities in healthcare: empowered consumers, rapid innovation, and increased competition from non-traditional players. And then they have to adjust accordingly. They have to see themselves as retail and technology enterprises who will need to partner with others to tailor their offerings to sophisticated consumers—offering low price points, for example, and responding to consumer demand. Being effective in this new landscape will require expertise in how to finance, deploy and share innovative technologies, and how to capitalize on analytics to comprehend and improve consumer experience.

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