Did you know that we are already using big data (extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions) to help with Parkinson’s disease (Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research) and to help the first responders to arrive on the scene earlier than previously experienced (Jersey City’s Medical EMS)? It’s true. (reference here)
I’ve also talked about big data in previous posts:
Data & Big Brother in Healthcare
How Well Will Wearables and mHealth apps Work with the Individual
So what is happening with our data? It is being evaluated to determine the care level of the patient. Or, in other words, we are analyzing the data from both clinical and claims systems to identify patient health status, compliance with physician orders and gaps in care that may be needed proactively for the patient.
This collection of data is being used by insurers and clinicians for the purpose of making the care of the patient more effective, efficient and comprehensive. It is also being used by the more commercial side of the healthcare business, such as pharmaceutical companies evaluating the use of their drugs with claims data on prescriptions filled, but with this use the patient information is not part of the package that the commercial side provides.
What does this mean for the general public? Well, a couple of things. For the individual it helps them to manage their health and diseases and to proactively ensure that they are progressing in a positive direction for a healthy life. For the public it means that we now have the ability to see what the community might need to make it healthier and to identify the potential for commonalities of disease in the community.
We are moving toward an industry that can have the tools to make us healthier as individuals and a community. This quote from David Richards (in the first article link above) sums it up:
…future breakthroughs may have less to do with chance discovery than the systematic analyses of existing data. And while these are the early days of data-driven hospitals, the writing is on the wall for healthcare as we know it.
Reading an article from newly named Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson-article was written before he attained the position 4 days ago – where Mr. Tyson talks about how connected the patients at KP are with their health records. Having worked as a consultant at KP before (and remember that little page about disclaimers up there to the right….) I think that Mr. Tyson is on the right path.
Technology is changing this paradigm and creating what we at Kaiser Permanente call connected care. This means that all the patient’s providers have access to the same health care records and information is available around the clock. Patients can access their full medical records electronically anytime, viewing all medications, lab results, office visits, and more. They even have direct access to their physicians through e-mail. Patients can connect to health information 24/7 and manage their health care when it’s convenient to them instead of having to wait for an appointment. And it is safer and more secure.
The unfortunate part is that I am not a KP member. I do not live in a KP serviced area. I do not have the connection that Mr. Tyson talks about. And somehow that is wrong – for me. Why don’t I have that same information? I don’t have health insurance right now. So does that mean I don’t get access to my records? Is it dependent on me having insurance or having a doctor that I use – and then must I use them regularly? Where are the rules for when and what records I get to see? And how long do I have to see them? Can I look back 5 years?
I applaud KP for the work they have put into making this happen. I personally know of the blood, sweat and tears that went into where they have gotten so far. So what is holding the rest of us back? Were we waiting on an election? Shame on us? While we were waiting on that election there were insurance companies buying up hospitals and health systems. Now they have my information even if I don’t.
More to come….just thought I’d ruffle the feathers a little…shake it up some… maybe get your attention…..