If only I had a nickel for everytime someone used ‘right time’ alongside ‘right information’ in healthcare!
Despite that, I’d have to say that ‘right time’ is a very underappreciated thought- especially in healthcare.
At this point, we understand how pivotal is the role of information in healthcare transformation. We are reaching out to more patients. We are converging a significant chunk of our efforts into creating a patient-oriented system, and the provision of accessible and transparent information is becoming increasingly important. And while we have understood how to use healthcare data to a large extent, we’re yet to work on the ‘right time’ aspect of it.
The access to data is changing
From our PCs at work to the smartphones in our hands- the way we access data is changing. A few clicks can summon a number of details about our finances, fitness, and even the utilities we have been using. And almost everything is in real time. So naturally, as we progress more into a world driven by technology, ‘time’ becomes a foundational element of that world- healthcare included.
Too often in healthcare, data sources are disconnected and not readily accessible. The lack of uniform, timely access to data greatly limits healthcare’s efforts to improve quality and efficiency. It’s time to address the challenge head-on by bringing disparate sources of healthcare data from many sources into the one place it’s needed the most- right at the point of care.
Delivering information at the right time can change the way care is provided
The information gathered from multiple data sources and analyzing them can provide insights that can be groundbreaking in improving the quality of care and increasing efficiency. Now more than ever, healthcare providers need to know where they are going. Providers should have a clear vision of the gaps in care, quality, risk, and finances of the network.
Because so much is still done manually in the chaotic and ever-changing paradigm of value-based care, time is of the essence. Wasted time or inefficiencies in processes could not only impact the operations in a healthcare network but also potentially harm the patient.
Consider the current referral process for example. In a value-based care network, referral management is a critical process of delivering quality care. Today, 63% of the referring physicians are dissatisfied with the process, all due to the lack of timeliness of information. Communication between the physicians and the timely access to patient information is important for the success of any referral, and the lack of timeliness can diminish the quality of care.
How the right information at the right time can help deliver quality care
- Prompt identification
‘Sudden’ changes in healthcare are never sudden- there’s always some error or a tiny factor that is overlooked. When providers would get the right information at the right time, they would be able to capture any gaps in care for any patient attributed to them. Only one glance at the patient’s comprehensive medical record would be enough to highlight errors to a physician’s eye- provided it’s delivered on time.
Additionally, data timeliness can be hugely instrumental in diagnosing any medical condition. The sooner, the better! Physicians can monitor vitals for patients such as their blood sugar levels or heart rate, and if these readings reach a certain threshold, an alert could be triggered.
- Enhanced data-driven care
In an industry that relies on historical data- past clinical history, hierarchical conditions, etc.- having access to updated information is not just a boon- it’s a necessity. Apart from relying on information from claims that could be easily 90-day old, or gathering information from patients, providers also leverage data as old as 24 hours. And most of the time, providers keep looking for this information across different platforms or systems.
It’s essential to the success of quality care that all of the relevant information including past clinical conditions, diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes should be readily available to physicians. Information at a physician’s fingertips would be critical in reducing almost half their time that goes into keying data and pulling reports, and not just to improve care. Even if some patient was treated in the ER of a town across the country, the information should be accessible within minutes at the point of care– right where it’s needed.
- Increased accessibility to care
It’s not just providers- information at the right time also helps patients navigate the care continuum. Once patient data is collected, it has to be effectively leveraged to simplify how processes are governed. When an appointment is being scheduled for the patient, a patient’s preferred time slot or day can be displayed within the workflow to assist the care teams in scheduling the appointment.
Also, questions that patients fae regarding their medication or their care program can be answered with the help of a 24×7 concierge, connected remotely. According to a study, only 21% of patients feel the communication between them and their physicians was adequate. When patients need prescription updates or a quick bit of advice, they can simply communicate with their care teams using remote health monitoring or apps any time and this alarming situation can be addressed.
- Clinical documentation for improved reimbursement
In the codes-reimbursement scenario, most cases begin like this: a person from the payer’s office drives down to the physician’s office, delivers a list of codes that have been dropped, and then a good chunk of the physician’s time goes into checking off the boxes, relying on memory. The process of reconciling updated codes to get correct value-based reimbursement is a long one and manually-driven.
If the information of dropped codes or suspect codes is provided to physicians while they were interacting with the patient, they could address the gaps in codes right then and there. They could verify the codes for each procedure and correct any glaring errors, which in turn would ensure a positive delta in reimbursements.
The road ahead
Your dinner will arrive in 30 minutes or a transaction of $50 has been made through your credit card- everything appears on your phone within seconds. And it’s time healthcare was made this simple. Technology is bridging gaps everywhere and prompt information is needed desperately in healthcare. For all intents and purposes, delivering timely information is a phenomenal resource for healthcare providers. We are looking at significant reduction in redundancies which cost millions and gaps that could impact lives- and this can only be addressed with the ‘right information’ at the ‘right time,’ each time!
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