When mechanical engineer Charles Babbage began conceptualizing the first automatic computing machine in 1822, it’s highly unlikely he had any idea of how his invention would evolve and change the world.
In the same way, with the relatively recent proliferation of electronic health records (EHRs), most of the public is still unaware of how much these records are going to drastically improve the health of every American, and of the world, at a population scale.
The reason? When data is available electronically, it can be translated into knowledge. Medical data on paper in hundreds of thousands of doctors’ offices, hospitals and senior living facilities is not easily analyzed. Paper records are only useful for the care of the single patient to whom it belongs. Electronic health data—sometimes called big data—changes all that.
The Evolution of Healthcare
With big health data now available, no longer do healthcare and senior care providers have to guess how to improve care. Evidence-based medicine can be supported through the analyzation of health data, gathered from patients nationwide. The possibilities for improving care across the entire population are endless, and have yet to be realized on a full scale.
The evolution of healthcare—as driven by big data—is currently underway. Many private health insurers and leading-edge healthcare providers have been analyzing health data for a decade or more and have used it to determine the best course for treatment, to improve outcomes.
Value Based Care
With the passage of the HITECH Act in 2009, physician and hospital adoption of EHRs went from a relatively small percentage, to a majority. Senior living organizations have been behind the curve on EHR adoption because they were not included in the HITECH Act to receive federal reimbursements for adoption. Nonetheless, senior living organizations have a strong role to play in what the federal government calls value based care. This is care that aims to improve individual care and population health through increased efficiency and quality of care. The only way to accomplish it is with electronic health data.
Remote Monitoring Technology
In the senior living space, vital data collected from remote monitoring technology can be analyzed to find trends that can improve care, including fall prevention. Data shared electronically between hospitals and senior living homes during the transition from post-acute care to senior care, can also be analyzed for trends. Outcomes can be improved and hospital readmission lowered.
Reimbursement changes currently and on the horizon are indicating that electronic health data will be used to improve individual patient health, senior resident care outcomes, along with population health. Leaders of senior care organizations need to understand the importance of this new reality: healthcare data analyzation is the undeniable wave of the future.