We are oh-so-close to there.
By Peggy Salvatore
For those of you who follow the Health System Ed blog, you know this doesn’t happen often. I am speechless.
I just got off the phone with Dr. Sandeep Pulim, the CMIO of @Point of Care, a company that developed an app that pulls together all the pieces of the patient puzzle into an informed treatment plan that can do nothing else except improve outcomes and lower costs.
The computer brain meets patient data.
Here’s a synopsis of my vision for healthcare that I summed up in my first Health System Ed blog six years ago:
Let’s play John Lennon for just a second.
Imagine going into a doctor who already knows your medical history and won’t require you to fill out pages of information which you’ve done countless times before, and may have forgotten some or most of it because you’re worried about whatever is ailing you at the moment.
Imagine that doctor’s staff won’t have to re-input that inaccurate data.
Imagine if we could track whether prescriptions are filled, so we’d know which treatments worked in which patients and which ones caused a side effect.
Imagine having baseline mammograms, colonoscopies, x-rays, c-scans and more that were available to any healthcare provider at any time in your life to see if you have a condition, a change, or just an old scar.
Imagine the mistakes avoided, the conditions identified and treated early and effectively, the cost of duplicate paperwork and medical testing eliminated.
Imagine knowing what works in whom, why, for how long, and under what circumstances.
If you can imagine that, you can imagine the end game for electronic health records.
Not to pooh-pooh concerns about patient privacy, rationing and all the other hurdles. They are serious concerns, and are being taken seriously by serious people. But for now, let’s just play John Lennon and imagine there’s no duplication, it isn’t hard to do.
@Point of Care Marries Watson
Yes, the Fitbit and the patient record can talk to each other right now, and that information can be combined with latest published medical studies available at the point of care to come up with the best treatment plan for the patient in front of you. Doctors and nurses can transfer de-identified patient data into the electronic health record to become part of the database of patient information to be parsed across health systems. The patient has a HIPAA-compliant smartphone or tablet app and can choose which providers receive their personal records and biometric data.
@Point of Care recently announced a relationship with IBM/WatsonHealth which IBM promoted as one of its partners at HIMSS15. Watson’s cognitive computing power is now being put to work on the patient in the treatment room to pull all patient and medical information together in an ascending spiral of knowledge.
The @Point of Care app and its interface with Watson is exactly the kind of technological advance that catapults healthcare technology into the future and leapfrogs over many of the plodding but necessary steps we’ve taken to put the infrastructure in place.
As Dr. Pulim explained, “Our work with Watson is…exciting because it lays the foundation for what the IOM (Institute of Medicine) calls a ‘Learning Healthcare System’.”
Who should care about this? Everybody. Here’s why:
- What’s the incentive for the patient? Best practices applied securely to your current condition immediately for optimum outcome. Patients get better faster.
- What’s the incentive for the providers? Evidence-based medicine plus ultra. And @Point of Care has built in the ability to earn those pesky CME credits while researching and treating the patient in front of you.
- What’s the incentive for the health systems? Follow the money. New payment structures based on outcomes require implementation of best practices at the point of care to maximize reimbursement.
- What’s the incentive for the payers? Identifying the best treatment, first time, all the time. No guessing, no spending money on less than ideal treatment. Let’s imagine that we can lose the pre-authorization process and cost associated with it.
- What’s the incentive for the pharmaceutical companies? It’s the pharma mantra come to life: prescribe the right treatment for the right patient at the right time. An interface with health plan payers ensures that the treatment is included in the patient’s benefit package. The interface with the patient encourages compliance and persistency.
A few years ago I imagined the promise of health IT to deliver better outcomes, lower cost and improve access. I am here to report that we are oh-so-close to there.
Where are you and your organization in the Internet of Healthcare Things? Please post a comment below.