News Feature | October 3, 2013

Patient Generated Data Analysis Is The Next HIT Step

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

HTO Big Data

Patient generated data could be the future of healthcare and the solution to time consuming data entry

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and computerized technology have been leveraged in hopes of increasing quality of care while decreasing costs, but what is to be done with the wealth of patient generated data (PGD) that has been mined in the process? According to InformationWeek Healthcare, “Any health or medical data a patient inputs electronically is considered patient-generated data. PGD emanates from a wide spectrum of technology, from wellness apps to at-home tests for clinical diagnoses. Even consumer activity-tracking devices such as Fitbit and Nike FuelBand could become sources of PGD.

“The healthcare industry needs to undergo a cultural shift that emphasizes customer satisfaction and patient interaction more. In industries such as retail or automotive, customer-centric technology is not only expected, but required. Think of Amazon's customer service reputation. That level of service has become the customer standard and the healthcare industry is starting to heed this standard.”

"In many environments, the patient is the best source of data for how they're doing in their own disease," said Ben Heywood, co-founder and president of PatientsLikeMe. "The health system in general is beginning to understand the importance of patient reported outcomes, but that isn't integrated into standard decision frameworks yet."

John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston said, “The next days of our work will be patient-generated data. We'll have EHR data, cost and quality metrics, and patient data. It's not only looking continuously from the outside, but assessing care from the patient's perspective."

Dr. Susan Woods, director of patient experience for connected health at the Veterans Health Administration, told MobiHealth News, “The future is PGD – patient-generated data. The voice of the patients and the caregivers has never been louder.” Woods is optimistic that PGD will be a main source of data down the road, but she notes the quality of information is the key, saying, “If it’s just your allergy list, it ain’t good enough.”

Data sharing is just the beginning though; patient portals that allow patients to not only view their records but also correct and update them are an excellent indication of the potential of PGD. Most of the PGD that’s currently being generated is through patient portals, which are also part of Meaningful Use requirements. Encouraging patients to access these portals is now not just about meeting those MU requirements; it’s about a provider’s bottom line.

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