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Patient-generated data is transforming health care

By Bipin Thomas
From the February 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

The importance of data in delivering efficient, effective health care has long been obvious, and has never been greater.

The increased focus on value-based care is shifting financial incentives to a model in which providers are compensated based on how their patients fare, rather than by the number of tests, visits or procedures performed. This means that providers, patients and everyone in-between are more eager than ever to measure patient outcomes in order to determine what works and who gets paid.

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In striving to improve outcomes and reduce costs, health care providers have long struggled with several nagging problems — most notably, their interactions with their patients are sporadic, giving them little insight into the daily decisions and activities that have a huge impact on patient health. Providers could be much more effective in supporting their patients’ health if it was easy, or even automatic, for information and feedback to flow between patients, providers and caregivers. Fortunately, new technology is making that increasingly possible.

Where data about consumers have been critical to the transformation in retail, in health care the key is patient-generated data, defined as health-related data created, recorded, gathered or inferred by or from patients or their designees to help address a health concern. It includes patient-reported outcomes, medical-device data and wearables data, in addition to the application of consumer-generated data in a health care setting.

Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies
IoT has the potential to reinvent the health care industry. It has the potential to transform traditional paper-based health care treatment through access to real-time patient data and remote patient monitoring. The emergence of this digital health care (mobile health, wireless health, connected health, etc.) technology has delivered solutions to tackle the increasing need for better diagnostics and more personalized therapeutic tools. The IoT plays a significant role in a broad range of health care applications, from managing chronic diseases to preventing disease, but it also works as a fitness and wellness tracker for athletes.

The health care industry has been overhauled by the digitalization of data and the incredible deployment of IoT technologies and apps to enable access to data anywhere and at any time. The new breed of patient data is increasingly generated by IoT technologies and associated business processes that offer the ability to track activities, identify choices, evaluate outcomes and act in circumstances that were previously effectively beyond reach and influence.
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