Jacob Krive, PhD, MBA, MS, CPHIMS
Professor Krive discusses the future enhancements that are coming within health care IT.
There are a number of phases that I can see happening. That first wave of digitization if you call it that of healthcare data has produced enormous amount of applications. There is an application serving almost each and every function that exists in a hospital in almost every specialty, but unfortunately that whole rush to digitize healthcare has produced those applications separately. They don’t talk very well to each other and then in some cases they don’t very well at all.
The next phase will be integration of it all, so called interoperability, making sure that all these applications can exchange data and that they can work together to enhance patient care and not just focus each and every separate area. Another way of it would be once all these applications are integrated to actually make sense of all these data. There will be efforts and there are efforts today to put all these data in data warehouses, if you think of it as a giant repository of the data that can be used for different purposes.
From there the new ways will actually start putting together financial and clinical data. Today we try to enhance patient care from the clinical perspective. We try to predict the cost of care based on how financial situation or insurance reimbursement has been in the past years. In the future, we can take it down to a per patient level when a patient can be tracked through the entire continuum of care clinically but at the same time financially. We can take better control of the cost of care in addition to enhancing the quality of care which is where we are trying to go as a nation. We want more affordable and higher quality care with fewer errors. This is the way where we’re going.
Finally another way is the social way if you can call it “Health to Own” for lack of a better term. This is where patient can take care of their own needs and take charge when they use social networking in ways that are different from what we’re used to today where they can search information on healthcare conditions and correspond with their caregivers, etcetera etcetera. There is a shift over these patient portals, provider portals and portals of all kinds that will help with the digital information and take it out of the internal databases that are owned by hospitals and make this information public in very careful ways of course because we have to worry about patient privacy as well.