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Is Healthcare Ready to Respond to Disruption with a Data-driven Approach?

Expert Panel Recomendations

As an emergency department nurse in the 1990s, Kimberly Strand and her colleagues knew little about their patients. Healthcare’s reliance on paper records meant it was all but impossible to acquire medical histories and allergies for people who showed up unconscious. The lack of data risked patient health and concerned clinicians.

One day, Strand and her team began wondering: What if?

What if they had the technology to quickly access and even gather real-time data for any patient? What if this information could improve health outcomes?

Thirty years later, Strand, now Director of Data Management for Aetna, belongs to a field of innovators who are answering those questions. InterSystems recently convened several of them for a discussion on disruption, data, and new approaches to thrive during change.

Here are three takeaways to help your organization turn new challenges into remarkable opportunities.

1. Leverage data to think two steps ahead

When new data-sharing regulations came online, MVP Health Care quickly resolved to exceed them. Even before COVID-19 struck, the New York-based payer expected healthcare to move toward digital consumerism. Leaders decided that a deep understanding of their 700,000 members — from their pain points to their preferences — would act as a differentiator.

When MVP Health Care set out to identify unmet needs, it started with the data. The payer analyzed customer information at scale, which enabled the organization to deliver tailored services to address food insecurity, transportation gaps, and more. In doing so, MVP evolved from an insurer to a health services company.

2. Your response to disruption depends on seamless data access

Just as data is essential to enterprise decision making, it’s invaluable to consumers and clinicians, who have their hands full navigating innovative shifts in care delivery.

At Aetna, Strand and her colleagues are working to connect those stakeholders to new data streams, from remote patient monitoring to lab results, in real time. Healthy data, available when and where people need it, enables consumers to direct their care and clinicians to make informed decisions — whether that’s at the home, hospital, or retail clinic.

The Rhode Island Quality Institute, which runs the state’s health information exchange, further supported this thesis when COVID-19 hit. The disruption of the pandemic ushered in new data needs among providers and public health officials.

3. Focus on the fundamentals

Disruption requires a keen understanding of an organization’s goals and clinical processes. That’s how innovators can find openings to improve health and business outcomes.

But the only way to find those opportunities is by gathering, cleaning, and connecting data. Without interoperability and a partner who can solve your unique challenges, innovation is a guessing game.

“Having tools and technology that can create actionable intelligence is a real key differentiator,” says Michael Marchant, Director of Health Information Exchange and System Integration at UC Davis Health.

The organization is innovating to solve longstanding challenges, from prior authorization to clinical trials matching, as part of an overarching effort to empower consumers.

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