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Transforming Patient-Generated Data into an Essential Tool for Optimized Care

The evidence in the market is clear: patient-generated health data (PGHD) is an essential tool for optimized care. As the volume of patient-generated data expands and care continues to move outside of the four walls of the hospital, health systems are increasingly leveraging PGHD to derive actionable insights and communicate with patients in meaningful ways. Data from these technologies are powering personalized approaches to remote monitoring, population management and patient engagement – indicating the transformative impact PGHD has on the operational efficiency of healthcare.

As digital health devices continue to become more sophisticated, their role and relevance in the clinical setting is going to exponentially increase – especially with regard to wearables. Data from consumer wearables offers clinicians vital and real-time insights into a patient’s health and daily routine. Activity levels, sleep measurements and heart-rate values – all are standard offerings on fitness devices – and, are important reference points and health indicators for patients with congestive heart failure, diabetes, arrhythmia and many other chronic conditions. Wearables in the coming years will collect even more biometric data as biosensors advance.

There are several benefits related to the use of patient-generated data – especially in helping providers capture a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a patient’s health. Instead of relying on infrequent and often skewed data during office visits, patient-generated data provides a full picture of a patient’s status both in real time and within their own environments. This data collected from the day-to-day routines of a patient’s life may give better insight and be a better indicator of overall health. In addition, when patients can generate their own data to impact care, it empowers them to better self-manage their own health and wellness.

We are learning as an industry how to ensure physicians and care teams are leveraging only the most impactful data at the right time. Forward-thinking providers, payers and pharmaceutical companies have evaluated the risk and concluded PGHD a necessity to manage the regulatory, financial and business challenges healthcare faces today. They are building the industry evidence: significantly reduced readmissions, dramatically increased engagement and more efficient diagnosis of ailments. And, they are proving the return on investment.

One example, Brockton Hospital, an integrated health system in Boston, utilizes activity trackers, as well as connected blood pressure monitors and scales, to treat and manage chronically ill patients and those recovering from surgery. One of their programs focuses on congestive heart failure (CHF) patients to detect daily changes in weight, heart rate, movement, sleep and blood pressure. Clinicians monitor this information to track progress and then use telehealth and messaging services to educate patients about the significance of changes in weight or other readings. When needed, the clinician will intervene to facilitate treatment in collaboration with the patient’s physician.

In the case of Brockton Hospital, they found this type of remote monitoring and data collection not only reduced the cost of providing care, but also increased access for patients that faced difficulty in visiting their provider in person due to physical impairments or lack of transportation. The approach reduced heart failure-related hospital readmissions in this pilot from a project 8-10 to zero. Because zero patients were readmitted, Brockton saw an immediate $216,000 cost savings – when launched at scale, they project millions in cost reductions.

Complacency has no place in healthcare. We are doing a disservice to patients and ourselves if we do not take advantage of the technology and data available today. Healthcare’s access and use of data has the power to disrupt the entire sector and move healthcare toward preventive diagnosis and predictive treatment. Patients have taken the first step to adopt the devices, companies have provided access to the data and leaders are providing the evidence to support ROI of PGHD. Now is the time to build on this momentum to create ubiquitous adoption and integration of patient-generated health data that can accelerate the management and delivery of value-based care.


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