Are We Using Healthcare Tech & Data the Way We Should?

National Nurses Day gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of and publically acknowledge the important contributions that nurses make to patient care. I’d like to personally thank the nurses in my life, including my colleagues and close friends. The work that you do each day is incredible, whether it’s in a hospital, home, or over the phone with patients. Today also marks the first day of National Nurses Week, a week that ends on the birthday of the founder of modern nursing – Florence Nightingale.

Despite the positive impact that nurses (and other healthcare professionals) have had on modern day patient care, we are in the midst of one of the most challenging times in our healthcare system’s history. As payers and providers continue to navigate the transition from volume to value and rethink the way care is delivered, technology and data analytics are progressing as the new organizational standard, with a focus on the results, business capabilities and best practices.

The media regularly covers the use of data analytics as a tool for decision making in hospitals to test the efficacy of alternative value-based care models and to measure patient outcomes.  But are these tools really working?  How are they being operationalized?  What are the results?

What’s in it for Home Care?

As care continues to shift to lower cost settings outside of the hospital, how can the home healthcare sector reap the benefits from technology and analytics, while also quantifying the impact of its services on patient outcomes and ensuring inclusion in new value-based care delivery models?

Initiatives like the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative (BPCI) two year extension and the recently announced mandatory Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model will help. The mandatory nature of the CJR model specifically guarantees that providers coordinate care, measure and manage costs across surgery teams, primary care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing, home care and physical therapy.

Outside of government led pilots, home healthcare players must proactively adopt connected technology solutions that enable the continuous acquisition and analysis of data to drive best practices related to how care is delivered and the measurement of outcomes.

There’s No “I” in Team

Everyone involved in care coordination must play a part in supporting initiatives like CJR through team-based care and by taking a more data-driven approach to care delivery. Health plans and delivery systems must adopt new care coordination models that use best-in-class technology and analytics to support the realization of alternative value-based care models like CJR. What does this look like?

By partnering with hospital case managers and standardizing the discharge planning process, we can ensure that patients get the right care, from the most appropriate provider, based on their risk profile, including the patient’s clinical and psychosocial needs. Advanced risk stratification and discharge planning tools alleviate the burden on case managers and discharge planners, who often have limited time and information to make critical decisions. We must also capitalize on technology that connects the entire care team, including the provider, nurse, caregiver and patient, to support increased visibility into the plan of care and empowers the patient to be more engaged in their path to recovery.

For patients with chronic conditions, remote monitoring devices can be used to proactively determine when clinicians need to engage patients, either to prevent an adverse event or to encourage adherence to life-changing therapies. The use of technology in this scenario allows nurses to connect directly with the patient when it matters most – when they can directly impact an outcome.

Whether you are a patient, a clinician, or a health plan, it is in our common interest to build a healthcare system that connects people, technologies and data to ensure care is delivered in the right place at the right time for the right patient.  The technology is here.  How are you and your organization using technology and data to improve quality, reduce cost and drive a better patient experience?