In early October, the National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo announced that the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator) will develop a policy framework for identifying best practices, gaps, and opportunities for the use of patient-generated health data (PGHD) in research and care delivery. Then, last week at the Health 2.0 conference and at events surrounding National Health IT Week and Boston HUBWeek, there was more excitement and discussion about the wonderful world of patient-generated health data, which includes data coming from patient self-tracking applications as well as passively-collected information from wearable devices and sensors. So why all the fuss?
Behind the hype and likely inflated expectations about the speed and ease of implementation of uptake in the use of patient-generated health data to revolutionize healthcare, here are a few real reasons why PGHD deserves such attention.
1. Earlier detection of issues drives more proactive management. Tools that can process patient-reported or passively collected data from patients and alert care managers to concerning trends when the patient is not in the clinic help providers recognize issues before they escalate. Dr. Mark Groshek of Kaiser Permanente talks about how patient data helps providers in Physicians Practice.
2. Greater involvement of patients. Applications that help patients understand their health data with respect to their treatment plans and their actions can drive engagement of patients in their care, which in turn can improve dialog between patients and providers. Dr. John Halamka wrote in Healthcare IT News about how he has used PGHD to help him manage his own care.
3. Utility of data. As care moves towards further patient-centricity, there is increasing interest in further understanding the patient experience from several angles, e.g., outcomes, satisfaction, quality-of-life, and preferences. This new source of patient data can be used to further investigate comparative effectiveness of therapies as well as refine patient stratification models. Accenture’s Healthcare Technology Vision 2015 report stated that 73% of provider organizations reported positive ROI from the adoption of technologies that supported the collection of patient-generated health data.
With interoperability and workflow integration issues impeding the speed at which provider organizations can deploy and utilize patient-generated health data solutions, EMR providers, patient application developers, wearable manufacturers, and analytics solutions providers will all need to collaborate in a meaningful way so that the promise of PGHD can truly be met.