The biggest battleship on today's business scene -- and in our personal lives -- is the healthcare system, which encompasses not just patients, doctors, and hospitals, but insurers, government, and employers. Listen to the many critics of that healthcare system and you will understand why it needed to turn around.
There are some signs coming out of the HIMSS 2015 (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) conference in Chicago that there's progress with the turnaround, particularly with the use of analytics to make better use of patient data, optimize treatment, encourage healthy living, and reduce problems such as hospital re-admissions.
The discussions and announcements at the health IT event have been centered on using data to improve wellness, perhaps more than any other theme.
In one announcement, healthcare technology supplier Geneia and SAS (sponsor of this site) announced a collaboration to use patient data to change how healthcare is administered in the US. That agreement focuses on the accountable care organizations (ACOs) that serve Medicare patients.
“We know that treatment plans for patients with orthopedic, heart failure, pneumonia and other conditions have high variability in terms of cost, quality and outcomes,” said Mark Caron, CEO of Geneia in a press release. “By integrating SAS predictive and episode analytics into our platform, Geneia is bringing a flexible, cost-effective, and transparent solution to the increasing number of physicians and hospitals in ACOs and other risk arrangements, and enabling them to identify, analyze and improve the episodes of care provided to these patients.”
In a recent phone interview with All Analytics, Geneia president Heather Lavoie said her company's offerings represent a bridge between two traditional types of healthcare focused analytics systems. She noted that there were well-established clinical solutions available to healthcare providers and there were claims solutions. "We understood that there wasn't a single solution that could provide support across both of those," said Lavoie.
Geneia's Theon analytics platform draws data from applications that support physician practices, hospitals, employers, and insurers. The company also supports remote monitoring of in-home medical devices, tracking factors such as patient blood pressure, pulse oxygen, respiration, weight, blood glucose, heart rate, and activity level. That data can be fed directly into patient records -- saving doctors and nurses from having to enter it manually -- and can be drawn on by analytics applications to identify cause and effect relationships and best treatment options.
Lavoie cited the example of a patient who thinks they are doing fine but don't realize how high their blood pressure is and how that raises the risk of stroke. "They can be shown that their salty foods, the sausage and bologna, might cause an issue."
Right now, Geneia's remote patient monitoring is focused on conditions such as congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and pneumonia, but Lavoie said there is a growing thirst for using healthcare analytics in new ways. "We're taking one step at a time, focusing on the most critical things first. It has taken some time for the market to mature," said Lavoie.