If it feels natural to use patient-generated health data (PGHD) for chronic care management, something is clearly wrong, as there isn’t any widespread practice of gathering, processing and analyzing this information. Only some pinpointed and limited adoption cases are available.
This article’s mission is to define whether the problem lies inside the idea itself or the technology can’t pull out this task as it should.
Rewards PGHD Use Brings To Chronic Care Management
Early Treatment Plan Corrections
One of the dangers of the long-term conditions hides inside exacerbations along with complications. They can either temporary worsen a patient’s well-being or lead to life-threatening health status declines. To reduce the risks, physicians need to have the every bit of information to update a treatment plan as soon as possible.
For example, health specialists using PGHD could know if:
- A patient is going through significant life changes, such as relocating, quitting smoking, adopting new nutrition habits, physical activities and other
- Individual’s body changes – e.g. arising comorbidities, infections, allergies and more
- A patient takes other medicines that can affect absorption, transport, metabolism and elimination of the active substance in a current treatment
Most of the long-term conditions are here to stay for the rest of the patient’s life. Sadly, each disease somehow develops, be it asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or any other. What physicians can do is they can slow up the condition’s progression and help a patient to stay on top of the best possible level of well-being.
To understand the trends, health specialists need patient-generated health data. It can highlight both negative and positive trends in patient’s health status. Each condition has its own specific vitals that form the patterns, such as blood glucose for diabetes. We suggest tracking any PGHD available, such as patient’s sleep, temperature, physical activity and blood pressure. The condition picture would benefit from any additional dimension.
The chronic conditions limit patient’s life, because simple things become way complex. It takes time and self-discipline to regularly use glucose meters, take medications timely, always carry an inhaler, schedule regular appointments and oh-so-much-more routines.
At every step of the way, patients need to be supported by their caregivers. This support can be improved with the use of PGHD. If patients know that physicians will connect the collected data to further treatment, they are reassured in its importance. Thus tracking and sharing vitals will be more regular and systematic. Moreover, when recent measurements highlight the need for an appointment or a specific test to evaluate the overall trend, the patient can be automatically notified.
Storing and Processing PGHD: Technology Options
The most obvious option is not usually the right one, and this is the case here. We can’t use the EHR to handle the patient-generated health data, as the EHR’s structure doesn’t allow that. Thinking beyond, we suggest creating a separate data warehouse to gather and store patient’s numbers for years. The storage can send the analytics results into the EHR in a form of virtual tests containing a summary with trends and significant changes.
Some of the caregivers want to work with the patient-generated health data, but they tend to think about this like their physicians will manually crawl through the tons of various numbers, levels and metrics. No, the technology is here to tackle this challenge. To gather the information, process it outside the EHR automatically and bring back only the valuable overviews.
Want to know more? Explore our new article on helping the diabetes patients control their blood glucose with the use of patient-generated health data.
But What If Chronic Care Management Is Fine Without PGHD?
Well, let’s make this clear. Patient-generated health data is here to stay, and it will be even more introspective, informative and relevant in the future. Value-based care triggered the fight for improved health outcomes, and chronic disease management is an area where you can achieve a lot with the right tools given. Using PGHD, you’re motivating patients to stay with you and reducing readmissions through timely treatment plan updates. Even more, with the whole condition picture in your hands, you are able to foresee the risks of complications and help patients to prevent them before the alarming symptoms appear.
Sure, healthcare’s main power is more in health specialists’ knowledge and skills than in technology, but let’s look at financial services market. The so-called FinTech companies are already eating out large pieces of traditional banks’ market share pie. So caregivers need to consider if they want to lead the pack with the help of PGHD or follow the other alphas to come.
Want to know more on PGHD benefits for you? Discover our recent entry on chronic disease management solutions.
By Alex Bekker, Head of Database and BI Department at ScienceSoft