APBN New Site

APBN Developing Site

Connected Data at the Heart of Future Healthcare

A unified view of patient data is key to an integrated, people-centric, value-based healthcare system where leveraging connected data, enables holistic, coordinated services, to improve people’s overall quality of life.

by David Irecki

The healthcare sector has had to rapidly transform to meet patient and consumer demands in the last few years. In catching up to other sectors like banking, finance, telecommunications, and retail, the healthcare sector has quickly deployed digital technologies to address healthcare challenges and to alleviate the high cost of services, while providing access to quality health services to more people.

For example in the Asia Pacific, the digital health market1 was valued at USD 19.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.9 per cent between 2020 and 2026. The accelerated adoption of digital healthcare in 2021 due to the pandemic has opened opportunities for more innovation and new technologies to be deployed to create better and holistic patient experiences.

As a result, healthcare institutions have started to implement more efficient processes to improve patient experience, integrate healthcare innovations including telehealth, remote or virtual care, as well as upgrade their Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems.

However, there is more to evolving the healthcare sector than the latest technologies and software applications. To deliver more proactive, precise, and timely care, healthcare providers must leverage data generated by patient engagements. By implementing a cohesive data management framework, healthcare providers are able to extract maximum business value from data extracted from disparate sources to build a more comprehensive view of patients within a secure environment. This enables people-centric care, driving better health outcomes with a 360-degree view of the organisation and patient requirements.

Integrated Health Ecosystem

In Singapore, for example, the public healthcare system has demonstrated the power of establishing a connected infrastructure, especially during the pandemic. Lauded as an ecosystem equipped to meet the current and future healthcare needs of Singaporeans, the Ministry of Health (MOH)2 has created three integrated geographic clusters covering a wide range of services from primary and special care hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other long-term care providers.

Through this initiative, MOH is working with each geographic cluster to facilitate a seamless flow of data across the entire healthcare network. This ensures that Singapore citizens have access to patient-centred, efficient, and quality healthcare services. Moreover, with connected infrastructure, resources and hospital facilities are properly allocated and mapped out, which ensures that each geographic cluster is adequately equipped to respond to public healthcare needs.

Unifying Patient Data for Accurate and Efficient Healthcare Delivery

Like in many healthcare systems around the world, medical institutions are plagued with IT environments that contain large amounts of data, accumulated from years of service and ever-growing paperwork. This data may include anything from patient treatment plans and outcomes, laboratory results to insurance information. Moreover, the data may also include operational insights to support resource allocation, especially critical in an industry prone to surge capacity and irregular staff hours.

Wearables and personal health monitoring applications are also contributing to the increasing volume of health-related data. With its portability and accessibility, healthcare providers and physicians are banking on the potential of wearable technologies in healthcare delivery.

When organisations are unable to securely communicate and access data, they risk exacerbating inconsistencies in an environment that requires accurate real-time information. Therefore, it is imperative that healthcare experts integrate their core business applications and use data strategies that centralise technology from the very beginning.

As organisations ingest their data into vast and boundless data lakes and clouds, much of it remains obscure. The International Data Corporation reports3 as much as 68 per cent of a company’s data goes undiscovered and unused, indicating that organisations are only capturing a third of what is happening in their business.

The variety of data sources is just simply overwhelming and combined with duplication and data incongruence; it can be challenging to identify which data to trust.

This is where data readiness comes into play. Data readiness provides a unified view of patient data to drive informed care and maintain confidence in the consistency of how that information is defined.

The value-based care model is built upon efficient and real-time sharing of data to ensure that each health care provider and medical professional involved in the treatment process can access crucial patient information as needed.

With data readiness, healthcare providers will be to be able to trust the data and deliver accurate and superior patient care.

Breaking Down Data Silos in Healthcare

When healthcare institutions automate processes and connect core IT systems, they enable health providers to establish a more personalised approach. Providers will be able to have full visibility over patients and operational data and are then able to customise their services to each stakeholder accordingly.

Healthcare providers are also in a better position to adapt to changing reporting requirements as stipulated by the MOH in Singapore. Additionally, they can trust that their data is accurate and up to date to drive informed decisions, while ensuring they continue to deliver the best care possible in compliance with industry and government regulations.

Silos in healthcare limit the options available for patients and reduce operational and cost efficiency due to factors including unnecessary duplication of tests and services. Taking a preventative approach to dealing with patients’ needs is also difficult due to the limited data that can be shared between clinicians and specialists as a result of those silos. In this instance, having accurate, centralised patient data could alert healthcare providers to proactively introduce a heart specialist into the care team to significantly improve patient health outcomes.

Pinning Data for the Bigger Picture

With connected data, organisations within the healthcare industry will benefit from improved operational agility, visibility, transparency, and accountability. They will also be able to derive maximum business value from data that ensures quality care and enables new ways of working for the long term.

Looking at the bigger picture, the increased availability of patient data also helps related sectors such as medical insurance companies in streamlining their processes. With seamless and secure healthcare data sharing, insurance companies can coordinate directly with healthcare providers when validating claims. This eliminates the tedious process of submitting documents so that the patients can focus on their recovery.

There is no better time for healthcare communities to truly consider their strategy for investing in digital services. They must not just acquire a stronger understanding of their operations but also the unique needs of each of their patients.

Such a methodology should prioritise data integration to enable all kinds of workers, be they data scientists or front-line staff, to curate and share data quickly and collaboratively. In doing so, workers will be able to draw relationships and build analytical models that create operational visibility and deepen patient understanding.

With 65 per cent of hospitals in the Asia Pacific expected to increase4 their spending on digitalisation in the next three years, healthcare providers that capitalise on data management strategies with granular intelligence will be able to propel their organisation toward more sustainable and proactive healthcare. [APBN]

About the Author 

David Irecki leads the Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) Solution Consulting team at Boomi, where he and his team help customers transform their business through solving integration and data management challenges.