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Transforming Healthcare: Improving Patient Pathways through interoperability

Transforming Healthcare: Patient Pathways and interoperability
Authors
Sarah Johansson
5. Juli 2023

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Healthcare is  changing to a new business scenario. The last and recent pandemic has amplified the need for fresh business models, further emphasising shared patient responsibility, technology, and patient-centric care.


key takeaways:
  1. EHRs are a key to improve and predict patients pathways

  2. Interoperability is the future business model to reduce outpatients from centralised organisations


In this evolving landscape, the concept of predicting patient pathways has emerged as a strategy for the healthcare and life sciences sectors. This involves anticipating disease progression and delineating treatment stages to reduce patient risks. An exemplar is kidney cancer treatment, where the strategy relies on early detection of faint indicators that signal potential complications. A thorough analysis of several months of treatment records, in tandem with comparisons with other similar patient profiles, can improve the precision of predicting risks and disease spread.

To forecast these developments, data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is of paramount importance. Patients are categorised and grouped based on shared criteria, facilitating the development of distinct care pathway categories. These categories encompass thousands of similar pathways. When blending AI models trained on bio-evolutionary markers, the precision of these predictions is even more accurate. Physicians can then embrace shared responsibility with patients in their healthcare journey, however, to mitigate the risk of over-reliance on these AI models, clear regulations need to be established, underlining that these tools are supportive, not substitutes for medical devices.

The trend does not stop here. Patient-centric approaches among stakeholders benefit hugely from this trend, due to suddenly, the patient does not need to be an outpatient at a major health institution in order to diagnose or predict his condition. Established Laboratory medicine practices and external physicians can provide diagnosis and treatment faster, with basis on identified patient pathways, thus shortening the waiting time for receiving treatment and ultimately improving Patient experience. Exchanging EHRs is the initial step, but redirecting ambulatory patients to clinics, private practitioners, and medical laboratories is a transformative business model that affects the entire traditional health value chain. Envisioning patient pathways as supply chain processes enables the application of strategic decentralisation and capacity-building at regional levels, fostering collaborations between healthcare providers and stakeholders.

Harnessing the Power of EHRs: Deciphering and Optimising Patient Pathways

EHRs spearhead the digital transformation in healthcare, serving as an extensive repository of patient data. These vital records empower healthcare providers to evaluate the entire patient journey and refine processes to enhance outcomes. Understanding patient pathways has been significantly facilitated by EHRs. Over the past five years, particularly during the pandemic, four key trends have gained prominence.

  • Interoperability: Ensuring seamless data exchange is crucial given patients' interactions with various health professionals and institutions. EHRs bolster interoperability, enabling real-time data sharing, mitigating fragmented care, and enriching patient experiences. Interoperability thus reinforces continuity of care, a crucial element for healthcare institutions that prioritise patient-centricity.

  • Personalised Care: EHRs contain a wealth of patient-specific data that can be used to understand individual disease patterns and treatment responses. This capacity stimulates precision medicine, offering treatments custom-made for individuals. EHRs also allow patients to access their health information, fostering increased engagement and empowerment in their healthcare journey.

  • Integrated Care Pathways: Integrated care pathways align multiple healthcare professionals to streamline and coordinate care. EHRs, functioning as the digital backbone, can efficiently monitor these pathways, enabling real-time adjustments to assure optimal healthcare delivery.

  • AI and Predictive Analytics: The potential of AI and predictive analytics, the fourth trend, is unleashed by the robust data supplied by EHRs. The resulting insights can pinpoint potential health risks, fine-tune treatment plans, and contribute to preventative healthcare.

Embracing these trends can revolutionise healthcare institutions, pushing the boundaries of patient care and significantly enhancing patient pathways. Coupled with a robust digital transformation and the strategic use of AI, the patient pathway landscape is set to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency and patient comfort, however where to start?

Healthcare institutions have defined models, high maintenance costs and difficulty in accepting new business models due to the established practices. The key-element to decipher and optimise patient pathways passes by an investment in healthcare physical and digital transformation by decentralising operations from the traditional places (hospitals and clinics), and move them into other actors such as a laboratories and pharmacies. The world still might be a bit far away from predicting patients pathways with precision, but surely is waling towards a new trend in how care is provided.

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