FRAMEWORK : Health Care Data

How Blockchain Technology and Financial Services Best Practices Can Help Transform Electronic Health Records

One of my passions for years has been to demonstrate the transferability of financial services data management best practices to the healthcare industry. I’ve spoken and written about specific opportunities—yet, it’s been hard for people to act upon this connection.

Now, Blockchain may offer the bridge.

In “The Potential for Blockchain to Transform Electronic Health Records,” John D. Halamka offers a look at how blockchain “has the potential to enable secure lifetime medical record sharing across providers.” 

Just as blockchain was conceived as a “ledger for financial transactions” and uses “public key cryptographically secured lists of all deposits and withdrawals,” a blockchain-based electronic health record (EHR) would “display data from every database referenced in the ledger.”

“The end result would be perfectly reconciled community-wide information about you, with guaranteed integrity from the point of data generation to the point of use, without manual human intervention.” 

In contrast to the existing EHR models, blockchain offers a “different construct, providing a universal set of tools for cryptographic assurance of data integrity, standardized auditing, and formalized ‘contracts’ for data access” – just like financial services’ data governance best practices.

The difference, of course, is that financial services uses blockchain for bank transactions, whereas in this case healthcare professionals and patients use blockchain technology for consumer medical records. Proven financial services data management best practices can be built into a blockchain-based EHR:

  • data integrity
  • data completeness
  • standardization
  • audits
  • privacy
  • security

As the author’s experiment and MIT research suggest, we are starting to seek innovations originating in different wide-spread industries that can then be applied across many domains.

Blockchain will be the common innovation applied across many unique industries.

In healthcare, adopting proven financial services’ data management best practices into blockchain technology makes a truly “universal” electronic health record possible in the not-to-distant future.

FRAMEWORK : Health Care Data

How Patient Narratives Connect with the New Healthcare Ecosystem

With all the news about healthcare – and the preponderance of traditional pharmaceutical ads running between almost every TV segment – it’s easy to miss the vast changes coming in healthcare marketing from our “age of disruption.”

As innovation and reform in science, business, regulatory agencies and technology drive change, Larry Mickelberg’s article “The Seismic Shakeup in Healthcare Marketing: Are You Ready?” surveys the landscape and outlines what this new healthcare marketing will look like.

Mickelberg foresees “marketing’s new role is to create an effective, enduring and personalized health narrative that speaks directly to each customer’s unique needs—delivered fluidly and seamlessly across a multiscreen, multidevice world.”

For marketing to adapt to this new world, Mickelberg lists “Five essential capabilities for the future:”

  1. Agility
  2. Data intelligence
  3. Creative and applied design
  4. Experience innovation
  5. Superior ecosystem

This “personalized health narrative” will be a unique source of data that connects the elements vital to each patient’s outcomes – a narrative that demands healthcare marketing which is “value-based, data-driven and customer experience centric.”

Even though most of my work is in data intelligence, product development and customer experience, it’s the collaborative nature of the new superior ecosystem that speaks most loudly to me. It’s here –  in an “ecosystem of vendors, customers, suppliers, partners and service providers”—that the connected events of a consumer’s health narrative join with the interconnected system.

Made possible amid the disruption of our new age, this interconnectivity of people, data, consumer narratives, behavior-based goals, businesses, and patient outcomes will drive more than how marketers design the new healthcare customer experience. If we all meet this opportunity with strength and drive, our newfound interconnectivity will allow for better lives for many.

FRAMEWORK : Health Care Data

Combine Data Transparency and Patient Goals to Meet Health Care Outcomes

At the recent 2017 Health Datapalooza, everyone was talking about transformation and patient data transparency.

The author of the MapR blog post, “5 Big Data Trends in Healthcare for 2017,” believes the “healthcare industry, perhaps more than any other, is on the brink of a major transformation through the use of advanced analytics and big data technologies.”

The five big data trends examined here are worth keeping a close watch on:

  • Value-based, patient centric care
  • The healthcare Internet of things (IOT)
  • Reducing fraud, waste and abuse
  • Predictive analytics to improve outcomes
  • Real-time monitoring of patients 

The author sees this increased focus on patient-centric care leveraging technology and focusing healthcare processes on patient outcomes.

Access to data – and data transparency – helps patients define clear expectations for their care. In collaboration with their physicians and providers, patients will use their own health information to set well-informed goals and make better decisions. When a patient knows her goals and direction, she can make increased use of all the information provided by “big data”. She can be her own advocate.

As the saying goes, “Goals transform insurmountable mountains into walkable hills.”

For example, with the integration of electronic health records, medical device data, the voices of patients, and varied open data sources, we can identify patterns, model risks, and dimension relationships between the cost and quality of care.

This sharing and connecting of different sources of information across technology environments (improving interoperability) enables wider adoption of predictive analytics to improve health outcomes.

Increased consumerism, combined with the use of predictive and preventative techniques and practices, will enable delivery of high value care – reaching patients’ clearly defined goals in the most efficient manner.

This leads us full circle to a critical challenge facing health care today. How do we identify the goals that are most likely to help the patient achieve her desired healthcare outcome?

When patient data is transparent – accessible, understandable and usable – collaborating physicians, providers and patients can design treatment, care, and patient-centric data tools and skills to help transform a patient’s mountain of an outcome into a healthy and walkable hill.

FRAMEWORK : Health Care Data

Know Thyself, Heal Thyself

You see it everywhere: we’re all rapidly becoming “tech enabled consumers” of health care data and information.

At lunch, your friend checks her activity tracker. Before an afternoon meeting, a colleague examines data from his wearable glucose monitoring patch. On your after-work jog, your running mate monitors her heart rate from a body sensor. At home, your daughter receives an email linking to her latest physical therapy routine videos.

In the McKinsey&Company report “How tech-enabled consumers are reordering the healthcare landscape,” the authors look at a not-too-distant future when consumers “create their own health-management ecosystems, acting as stewards of their care and controlling not just where they access it but also how and from whom, as well as the price they pay.”

The confluence of the rise in consumerism and the proliferation of digital/mobile technology is rapidly creating a literal explosion in digital health services. Responding to consumers’ dissatisfaction with health care providers and insurers, an entire industry has formed around replacing or supplementing traditional health care with digital tools and services.

In the full report (free download from article), even the categories for health care technologies are grouped around “causes of consumer dissatisfaction.” The devices and services that health care providers now offer not only ease the pain of dissatisfaction but also empower consumers to gather, own and manage their health care data.

Yet, we see a gap between digital health care providers and consumers. Alongside the physicians and insurers, we need data experts to interpret the mass of data for consumers – experts who can eliminate all the noise and then provide deeper understanding.

As the authors conclude, “Providers, especially physicians, could find themselves spending less time gathering information about their patients and more time helping them make sense of the information already gathered.”

And that’s the cue for health care data experts to come to the aid of our new tech-enabled consumers.