With the amount of health data for a given patient increasing exponentially, providers need a digital health platform that will allow them to apply it to care decisions.
For example, if a 39-year-old man presents in the emergency department with debilitating back pain, barely able to speak, after a fall. When asked about current medications, he wheezes, “Heart medicine,” but cannot recall the name of the drug. Without access to the patient’s medical history, the attending physician now faces a conundrum: does he treat the patient for a physical injury or potential life-threatening cardiac event?
Informing clinical decisions
This situation is not unique. Each day, across the globe, healthcare professionals are forced to make split-second clinical decisions with a very limited amount of information. Those decisions directly affect the health and well-being of patients, as well as the cost of care. Digital health applications, fueled by the remarkable amount of data that continues to accrue for each and every person, have the power to make those decisions in a more informed way. But only if providers can find ways to successfully access, process, parse and apply that data at the point of care.
Today, healthcare organizations are trying to balance providing the highest quality of care to patients, while keeping costs at a minimum. While it may seem that those two goals will always be at odds, they don’t have to be. As the healthcare industry finds reliable ways to translate “big data” into “smart data,” the result will be actionable clinical insights that can both improve operational efficiency and clinical effectiveness.
A novel platform
To better support the collection of necessary data, hospitals require new digital health platforms that can securely connect and integrate data from varied sources and interoperability standards, including DICOM, HL7, IHE and FHIR. That platform needs to be both vendor- and device-agnostic, permitting it to send information to and from different solutions that hospitals are currently using or may use in the future.
That, however, is only the first step. After that data is acquired, it must be transformed into the kind of “smart data” that will offer clinical insights. The platform must aggregate all this health information so it can be harnessed for in-depth, transformative, and customizable data visualization through the use of AI-powered analytics.
In addition, the platform needs to be able to support a provider’s ability to share and collaborate, with patients or other clinicians, through standardized interfaces. To fully leverage not only digitally enabled collaboration but any kind of digital health solution within clinical routine, the platform needs to be flexible and scalable to fit healthcare providers individual and ever-changing needs on a global basis.
Consider once again the 39-year-old patient in the emergency room with back pain and a potential history of heart disease. With a secured, GDPR and HIPAA-compliant data sharing and connectivity service, the attending emergency room physician could access the patient’s chart, discovering both the type and dosage of heart medicine he takes, to better inform what tests to order and immediate care to give.
If the results of those tests are inconclusive, the doctor could further rely on a digital health platform to consult with specialists around the globe about the patient’s condition – and what evidence-based best practices suggest for treatment and intervention. Simply stated, this type of connectivity could put all the information a clinician needs right at his or her fingertips – to facilitate smarter, faster and more effective clinical decisions.
Stepping into the future
Data remains the key to true digital transformation. With the right information in hand, tomorrow’s healthcare providers will have the ability to make more intelligent, data-driven decisions about care, improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs in the process. Such connectivity – securely and seamlessly bringing together data, people, institutions, systems and applications – is the kind of transformational data-driven technology that will make the healthcare industry fit for the future.
To learn more about what a digital health platform can do for your healthcare organization, go to siemens-healthineers.com.
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