Data is hot right now. We generate tons of it, but most of it sits there, latent, unused and useless. This is particularly pronounced when it comes to health and fitness data, where we strap on our fitness trackers and expect the pounds to melt away with each step passively logged.
But we haven't seen a dramatic improvement in our nation’s health with the emergence of the "quantified self movement" and the pervasiveness of wearables. We still live in a country where two-thirds of us are overweight or obese and 80 percent of adults do not get the recommended amount of exercise.
We forget that data alone is not the key to solving America’s health crisis. Knowing our step count or flights of stairs climbed won’t change our behavior. However, data with context - data that is proactive, timely and actionable - gives us the opportunity to design our environments for success and can help enable us to reach our health goals.
We all recognize that digital technologies are firmly embedded in our lives – the Internet of Things is becoming a reality, growing from 15 billion smart devices in 2015 to at least 50 billion by 2020. It is easier than ever before to connect data-generating appliances, machines and even complete industries to the internet. As a result, we are also creating vast amounts of data, faster and more detailed than ever before – 90% of all data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.
This big data revolution has led to the emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is about combining connected devices with cloud computing, big data analytics and artificial intelligence - our critical infrastructures will become smart.
As compared to a global average of 2–2.5 percent of income spent on IT by healthcare providers, or even 6-15 percent being invested in IT in other sectors within India, anecdotal data from multiple sources indicate that healthcare providers in India rarely spend more than 0.5 percent of their annual revenue on information technology. Rather than investing in the necessary or customized (and consequently more expensive) software solutions that best suits the needs of the hospital, the oft-used strategy is to find cheaper available solutions or adopt those that have been created for smaller setups.
Instead of capitalizing on the immense potential of IT as a competitive differentiator (especially at a time when they could have a substantial first-mover advantage), hospitals in India seem to embrace the “cheap is good, free is better” philosophy. May be it has to do with a legacy mindset from about 20 years ago; however, it is indeed surprising considering the big and aspirational strides that many industries in India have taken.
Patient-generated health data has the power to improve patient care, not just by completing EHR data, but by empowering the patient to engage in their own health.
Between completing EHR information and empowering the patient as a part of the care team, patient-generated health data has the potential to be an integral part of enhancing the overall care for an individual.
The healthcare industry is making headway toward realizing this end in several efforts made to increase the prevalence of patient-generated health data, including using patient-generated data as a part of Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements, underscore its benefits in other health IT-related initiatives.
But what makes patient-generated health data unique? And how can it aid the complete use of EHRs and improve patient care? By taking a look at patient-generated health data and how it’s gathered, we can better understand its overall healthcare benefits: