By Sri Bharadwaj, Sep 05, 2017
Our healthcare systems have been inundated by an incredible volume of data.
Whether it is as information streaming in from patients’ wearable devices, as secure text exchanges between physicians about treatment plans or in the ready availability of digitized pathology and radiology reports, there is an abundance of healthcare data being churned out for healthcare practitioners to mine.
So, why isn’t this data—both minutiae in nature and voluminous in kind—delivering what healthcare needs most—namely improved patient outcomes at lowered costs? Why isn’t it quite available to the physician, the nurse, the home-health worker, the ambulance staff in the form they need it in, at the point in care when it is most urgently required?
The most obvious reason is because this vast cache of data is not available in a structured, comprehensive, easy-to-use form. In fact, almost 95% the information that the physician needs to get to the right diagnosis, is hosted on separate EMR, laboratory, radiology systems, siloed and out of bounds for the physician at the point in care.
The healthcare system is certainly trying hard. It is currently focused on relaying data at a steady clip to physicians. However much of it fails to be what I call context-aware patient information. As a result, physicians end up using far more time than they can afford to sift through the information, correlating it clinically and moving to a relevant prescription or treatment plan.
Take for instance a typical ambulatory setting. The physician has 18 minutes—if that—to decipher a patient’s most pressing requirement. Often this window is reduced to just about five minutes. Within this small window, the nurse must quickly collate the information she can get, put it into the EMR, and have the physician take a quick look so that he can proceed to conduct a final examination and deliver a diagnosis or prescription.
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