Big Data Enables Chronic Condition Management

By Jay Backstrom February 20, 2013

With the roll out of the pay-for-performance model in the US, healthcare leaders are beginning to understand that the key to their survival is to use a comprehensive set of big data to make informed business and clinical decisions.  The need to out-perform competitors on cost and effectiveness will ensure that data becomes the healthcare provider’s most valuable asset.

Healthcare providers have been implementing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems at a noteworthy rate.  In May 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services reported that nearly half of all hospitals and providers were implementing EMR systems and registered to receive reimbursement subsidies through EHR Incentive Programs. As of the end of 2012, nearly $9 billion in related EHR payments had been made to eligible providers.  It is also important to note that these systems are quite popular with physicians as is represented in the chart below from the CDC. These organizations are implementing EMR systems because they realize EMR systems are key to improving care outcomes and using big data to drive business value.



After the past few years of debate and rapid EMR adoption, the industry is beginning to better understand the value of EMR add-on applications. As organizations continue to balance their  budgets and technology objectives, they must explore how to utilize their existing EMR applications. Stories of healthcare institutions implementing add-on technologies to securely transfer and use data captured in EMR applications are becoming more common as they  look to technology to help them meet tomorrow’s objectives.

The Most Effective EMR Add-on Patient Relationship Management

As the burden of care shifts from providing care to getting patients well, physicians and patients are working more closely than ever to improve health outcomes and minimize costly, unnecessary catastrophic events.  Dr. Josh Umbehr said it best when he claimed, “A good scalpel makes a better surgeon. Good communication makes a better doctor.” Patient Relationship Management (PRM) applications are built upon the notion that communication is key, and they strive to improve medical care by better developing the exchange of knowledge between patients and providers.  In doing so, PRM systems can ensure that patients or care givers understand what their role is in their health and how it affects the outcome.

Organizations implementing PRM applications understand that patient behavior is the  key to improving care outcomes and that the customization of education and learning tools provide much needed support to both physicians and providers. PRM applications educate patients using delivery mediums such as video games, surveys or social media sites, to ensure that patient characteristics do not impede the transfer of knowledge.

Patient Relationship Management at Major Safety Net Hospital

I recently spent time with one of my customers, a major safety net hospital system; that needed to improve the care of patients with diseases such as diabetes.  EMC Global Services created the Chronic Condition Management (CCM) platform to offer personalized support outside of clinic visits. This solution uses bi-directional text messaging to engage patients in the management of their care. This resulted in better outcomes, lower costs, and reduced Emergency Department use.

Read more about this solution and other ways big data improves care in my latest white paper Big Data Transforms EMRor visit EMC Global Services at HIMSS 2013 booth #741 March 4 – 8 in New Orleans to learn more.

About Jay Backstrom

Jay Backstrom, national practice leader with EMC Global Services Health Sciences consulting division.

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