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The obstruction blocking healthcare from adopting innovation

We hear a lot of hype about the medical and technological innovations advancing healthcare services.

Today we’re seeing data collected from wearable devices, helping to proactively diagnose conditions using Artificial Intelligence (AI). We’re witnessing the emergence of DNA profiling and the application of genomics to design new, super-personalised treatment plans.  We’re watching the Internet of Things (IoT) march into hospitals, trialing medical drones to fly out to rural communities and observing digital transformation deliver breakthroughs such as the virtual biobank of cancer tissue samples.

The almost daily advancements in medical treatment are exciting and full of potential. So how do you go beyond the hype, to realise and prepare for the business disruption and IT challenges which walk hand in hand with innovation?

As the National Practice Manager for Healthcare at Data#3, I’ve worked with countless organisations looking to implement IT systems, to support revolutionary medical practices. For instance our consulting practice, Business Aspect, are currently working with healthcare agencies to determine how genomics data can be mined, stored and managed, in order to identify the most effective treatment for an individual’s unique genomic structure.

The ambition is high, yet when working with clinical organisations we regularly come up against a common and significant obstruction blocking the adoption of innovation – a future proof information management system.

It sounds basic (and much less exciting than drones or AI), yet poor data management will have massive implications on your ability to embrace change and innovation moving into the very digital future.

 

Consider some of these IT implications arising due to medical advancement:

Forward thinking information management

Clinical data demands several legal protocols that go beyond general patient privacy protections.

For medical organisations, storing and managing information is not as simple as spinning up more space in the cloud. Strong governance and rules must be built into the foundation of an information management platform to ensure rigorous security, with-out crippling productivity for staff accessing systems and IT teams managing them.

Ethical data practices are an evolving area of information management. Firm government policies regarding the ethical collection, storage and application of medical information are yet to be define in Australia. A growing number of cases have highlighted the societal implications of genomic research, with the emergence of a new phenomenon – genomic discrimination. Life insurance agencies, schools and even enterprises recruiting staff are accused of misusing data, in what is becoming a wide spread issue. In fact, a parliamentary commission has been conducted to investigate the impacts on our community.

Although it’s a relatively new implication, ethical and legislative repercussions of data need to be proactively considered, as it’s often easier to start again from scratch than retrofit data models and proper governance after the fact.

 

Really big, big data

As much as 30% of the world’s data is generated by the healthcare sector1. A single patient produces close to 80 megabytes of data every year1. This deluge of data is only rising as the myriad of channels used to obtain patient and populous medical information continues to grow.

In addition to the traditional clinical, cost, claims, pharmaceutical and electronic medical record (EMR) data, personal patient information is now also generated via:

  • IoT sensors in hospital, clinics, even public areas and connected homes,
  • fitness trackers and wearable devices,
  • smartphones and apps, as well as
  • social media networks.

Is your organisation prepared to handle and process this deluge? Do you have sufficient storage to leverage big data? How will you process typically raw, unstructured data into contextual information that clinicians can draw informed insights from?

You’ll also need to consider upkeep and ongoing management to ensure your records are reliable and accurate. A recent study at an ophthalmology clinic, revealed eHealth records matched patient-reported data in just 23.5% of cases2.

 

Essential cybersecurity

The recently introduced Notifiable Data Breach scheme has revealed healthcare is the most breached industry in Australia3. It shouldn’t be news to anyone in healthcare, the importance of cybersecurity. Protecting the personal information of patients, research material and the institution has always been vital. However as medical advancements such as genomics deliver richer, deeper and more personalized data than we’ve ever seen before, the most comprehensive data security should always be a priority for health firms.

This is an essential challenge to overcome, especially with more network-connected end points than ever and people’s growing digital lifestyles making re-identification of ‘confidential’ EMR often all too easy.

The lineage of data is another big concern, you must be confident of exactly where your information has come from, is going to and whether anyone has interrupted it along the way. Interest in applying blockchain technology to medical data has come about for this reason, as healthcare agencies search for an efficient way to share EMR across entities, without compromising the security of the stored data.

 

The appetite to adopt medical innovation is abundant, yet I often witness companies lose momentum and waste time and resources reactively laying the foundational layers of big data and information management. A forward thinking approach to plan and prepare for the advancements your organisation will want to embrace in the future, is a must.

The next medical breakthrough your agency will want to jump on is just around the corner, ensure you’re prepared to embrace innovation knowing you have a reliable and robust platform to build from.

Reach out and make sure you’re ready with Data#3.

Click here for more about Data#3 Healthcare solutions.

 

1. Jim Gerrity (2014). Comment: Health networks- delivering the future of healthcare. [Online] Available at: https://www.buildingbetterhealthcare.co.uk/technical/article_page/Comment_Health_networks__delivering_the_future_of_healthcare/94931
2. JAMA Ophthalmol (2017). Agreement of Ocular Symptom Reporting Between Patient-Reported Outcomes and Medical Records. [Online] Available at: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/2598419
3. Asha McLean (2018). Health holds crown as the most breached sector in Australia. [Online] Available at: https://www.zdnet.com/article/health-holds-crown-as-the-most-breached-sector-in-australia/?ftag=TRE7ed2633&bhid=27340050656001701574802858392476

Tags: Data & Analytics, Digital Transformation, Healthcare, Information Management, Mobility, Project Services, Security, The Anywhere Clinical Desktop

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