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Over recent years, technology has had a huge impact on the healthcare industry. From online medical records that patients can access on their own to view test results, to wearable tech devices that help patients take more ownership in the management of their health issues, healthcare is benefiting greatly from deeper tech integration. With more patient data online than ever before, there’s a huge opportunity to improve patient care coordination.
Care coordination, in case you haven’t heard of it, is the sharing of health data, test results, treatment plans and additional resources between primary care doctors, specialists, nurses, patients and caregivers to achieve safer and more effective health outcomes.
Promoting effective coordination of care is one of the six priorities cited by the National Quality Strategy (NQS), an organization led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality who also specifically name healthcare technology as the key lever for making it a reality.
So what are the key trends in care coordination and technology? Here are my highlights:
1. Salesforce Health Cloud – going beyond electronic medical records.
It could soon be that EMRs are moribund – or that’s the hope of Salesforce who announced their Health Cloud in September of last year (it is due to go fully live next month). Health Cloud claims to be a much smarter, more patient-centric solution which is about “patient relationships, not records.” By providing a complete view of a patient’s medical information and a user-friendly, intuitive interface, it’s Salesforce’s hope that Health Cloud will eventually play a role in preventative care. It’s also interesting to note that Salesforce highlighted research relating to millennials on the Health Cloud website (71% of millennials want doctors to provide a mobile app to actively manage their health), suggesting that Salesforce may have tapped into what will shortly be the new normal.
2. Big data and analytics.
Just as Salesforce has applied its expertise in customer relationship management platforms to healthcare, so Google is using its genius with building algorithms to mine big data to better detect diseases. Earlier this month, Google announced the launch of Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) whose mission is “to bring together technology and life sciences to uncover new truths about health and disease.” With yet another worrisome virus hitting the headlines this week, this is an exciting development to watch.
3. Growth in connected health security.
For the many benefits of this shift online, one of the major challenges is keeping the health information private and secure. To that end, expect to see a major growth in security services specifically designed to help protect the online healthcare infrastructure.
While some progress has been made, the current process is still highly fragmented. Happily, research from Accenture suggests that incorporating technology into care coordination could result in billions of dollars in savings each year, so innovations are sure to keep growing rapidly.
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