Connected health has been growing steadily over the past decade, but the past year saw a significant shift in adoption and attitude as the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world. None of the many use cases for connected health would be possible without technology, and one of the benefits of tech-driven healthcare is the creation of enormous amounts of data, and that data is growing exponentially. From 2016-2019, the healthcare industry experienced a massive 878% increase in data – that was before the telehealth surge of 2020.
Every digital device, every interaction, every telehealth appointment creates new data that can be analyzed to help healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, and even patients themselves make better and more informed healthcare decisions. While individually, the data from each of these sources is valuable to assessing patient conditions, collectively, they can provide the healthcare community a vast resource for improving healthcare delivery.
Using a combination of analytics, automation, communications, and other technologies, the healthcare industry can leverage all that connected health data to deliver more meaningful care to patients, while reducing some of the operational inefficiencies that have plagued the healthcare system.
Improved Patient Diagnoses
Physicians consider a variety of factors when diagnosing patient conditions and prescribing treatment. Decisions are based on available patient information and intelligence collected by physicians through education and experience. Connected health devices can provide objective and accurate patient health information to drive diagnoses, rather than relying on patient reporting of symptoms. Likewise, as more and more data is collected by providers, they can leverage larger databases with more information about patients, population groups, conditions, and medications to make more informed decisions.
Artificial Intelligence-driven Decisions
The use of AI is evolving and can drive faster, more accurate decision-making. From reading medical images to alerting providers when RPM devices record out-of-range readings to comparing patient information to larger data sets, AI can increase response times, while relieving some of the burden on physicians. Already, about a third of hospitals and imaging centers are using AI to assist with their imaging operations. AI can help physicians identify and begin treating emerging conditions before they become serious.
Predictive Analytics and Population Health
As more data sources are integrated and fed into AI engines, researchers and providers can use predictive analytics to help identify at-risk individuals and population groups based on a variety of health, socioeconomic, geographic and other factors. Results from these analyses can help drive population health initiatives and allow physicians to collaborate with patients to improve their general wellness and reduce risk levels for potential conditions.
Data-driven Patient Experience
Increased collection of patient data can help feed decision-making engines, which, in turn can be used to drive the use of AI to support patients. The more data is available, the more effective automated responses through chatbots, voice recognition, and even text or email messaging can be. Rather than waiting to speak to a physician, patients may be able to receive information through various self-service channels, reducing physician and staff workload.
Better Research Models
In order to develop more effective treatments and medications, researchers and pharmaceutical companies can leverage connected health data to better understand the relationships between patient groups and treatments while factoring in other variables. The more data they to which they have access, the more they are able to develop effective treatments for patients based on their individual conditions.
There is no question the amount of health data being generated is growing. The industry stands at a crossroads between traditional and next-generation connected health. Recent developments and broader acceptance and understanding of the value of connected health, though, are poised to push it into a permanent fixture in mainstream healthcare. As that happens, health data will only continue to surge. The question is, how can the healthcare community get the most out of it and maximize the benefits of connected health solutions.
To learn more about how connected health and the data it generates can help improve operations, deliver better care quality, and drive revenue, connect with us here.