Transforming Healthcare: Improving Patient Pathways through Interoperability

Transforming Healthcare: Improving Patient Pathways through Interoperability
Mia Española
5 June 2024
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Healthcare is changing to a new business scenario. The most recent pandemic has amplified the need for innovative business models, further emphasizing shared patient responsibility, technology, and patient-centric care.


key takeaways:


1. EHRs are key for improving and predicting patient pathways.

2. Interoperability represents the future business model to reduce the number of outpatients from centralized organizations.


The concept of predicting patient pathways has appeared as a key strategy for the healthcare and life sciences sectors. This approach involves forecasting disease progression and outlining treatment stages to mitigate patient risks. A prime example is the treatment of kidney cancer, where the strategy relies on the early detection of minor indicators that signal potential complications. A comprehensive analysis of several months of treatment records, alongside comparisons to other similar patient profiles, can enhance the accuracy of risk prediction and disease progression.


To forecast these developments, data from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is of crucial importance. Patients are categorized and grouped based on shared criteria, which facilitates the development of distinct care pathway categories. These categories include thousands of similar pathways. The precision of these predictions is further enhanced when blending AI models trained on bio-evolutionary markers. Physicians can then share 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. These regulations should emphasize that these tools are supportive and not substitutes for medical devices.


The trend doesn’t stop here. Patient-centric approaches among stakeholders significantly benefit from this trend. Suddenly, the patient doesn’t need to be an outpatient at a major health institution to diagnose or predict their condition. Established laboratory medicine practices and external physicians can provide diagnosis and treatment faster, based on identified patient pathways. This shortens the waiting time for receiving treatment and ultimately improves the patient experience. Exchanging Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is the initial step, but redirecting ambulatory patients to clinics, private practitioners, and medical laboratories represents 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. This promotes collaborations between healthcare providers and stakeholders.


Leveraging the Power of EHRs: Deciphering and Optimising Patient Pathways

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are leading the digital transformation in healthcare, serving as an extensive repository of patient data. These vital records enable healthcare providers to evaluate the entire patient's journey and refine processes to enhance outcomes. The understanding of patient pathways has been significantly enhanced by EHRs. Over the past five years, particularly during the pandemic, four key trends have emerged.


Interoperability: Seamless data exchange is essential given the various interactions patients have with health professionals and institutions. EHRs bolster interoperability, enabling real-time data sharing, mitigating fragmented care, and enriching patient experiences. Thus, interoperability reinforces the continuity of care, an important element for healthcare institutions that prioritize 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 that are custom-made for individuals. EHRs also allow patients to access their health information, encouraging increased engagement and autonomy in their healthcare journey.


Integrated Care Pathways: Unite multiple healthcare professionals to streamline and coordinate care. Electronic Health Records (EHRs), serving as the digital backbone, can effectively monitor these pathways. This allows for real-time adjustments, ensuring optimal healthcare delivery.


AI and Predictive Analytics: The fourth trend, the potential of AI and predictive analytics, is unlocked by the comprehensive data provided by EHRs. The insights gained can identify potential health risks, refine treatment plans, and contribute to preventive healthcare.


Adopting these trends can revolutionize healthcare institutions, pushing the boundaries of patient care and significantly enhancing patient pathways. When combined with digital transformation and the strategic use of AI, the patient pathway landscape is poised to achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and patient comfort. However, the question remains: where should one start?


Healthcare institutions have defined models, high maintenance costs, and difficulty in accepting new business models due to established practices. The key element to decipher and optimise patient pathways involves an investment in healthcare's physical and digital transformation. This can be achieved by decentralizing operations from traditional places, such as hospitals and clinics, and shifting them to alternative entities, such as laboratories and pharmacies. The world might still be a bit far from predicting patient pathways with precision, but it is surely walking towards a new trend in how care is provided.


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