Healthcare in France – as with the rest of the world – is probably undergoing one of the most significant shifts in history. While the 20th century gave birth to the most significant advances in the acute care space, the 21st century is facing the challenge of growth in health expenditure that is no longer sustainable, and a hospital-centric healthcare system that is becoming a barrier to further advances.
By Philippe Blanco, Industry General Manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences, Nordics and South and West Europe
The development of leading-edge surgery techniques, advanced treatments accelerated by human genome decoding (such as for cancer), or highly sophisticated medical imaging technologies have improved life expectation for people in developed countries. The undoubted success of acute care means that today’s healthcare challenge is an aging society subject to a range of chronic conditions.
The consumer also expects to be empowered in their healthcare journey. They want to be able to access their healthcare information and be active decision makers in their healthcare journey – whether this is about defining the right treatment or choosing the most appropriate care professionals or healthcare facility. They expect to be able to take an active role by using technologies, such as mobile, to stay connected and informed. They also expect wearable devices to help them and their healthcare professionals make the most appropriate medical decisions. These expectations are just as relevant for healthcare practitioners, who are increasingly technology savvy and want to be able to use devices, such as tablets, smart phones and the Internet of Things, in their work environment to improve access to information and dialogue with their patients.
Until now, most of the investment in healthcare information systems has been hospital-centric. Large investments have been made in medical record solutions, but very little has been done to ensure connectivity and communication between all stakeholders. In order to address the end-to-end patient journey that is critical to respond to the requirements of consumers and practitioners, information must flow across the entire healthcare continuum: hospitals, private clinics, general practitioners, social care and home care.
Today much of the communication needs to take place outside the hospital through the healthcare practitioner, nurses, home care and community care organizations. To assist with that end-to-end journey, patients and their carers need access to all relevant health information.
This new model of care needs to be supported by new models of IT. CSC has developed the IT hierarchy of healthcare needs to support healthcare organizations in their IT transformation journey.
So what have the barriers been to achieving this level of connectivity?
Until more recently there has been both a lack of connectivity (in part due to the hospital-centric nature of investments) and a gap in technology capabilities. However, mobility, the Internet of Things, Internet 4.0 and cloud have opened a wealth of opportunity for allowing access to all stakeholders.
Unfortunately most healthcare organizations spend a large percentage of their budget on keeping the lights on. Working with a partner that can take over that infrastructure and allow organizations to use it as required allows them to transition from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure and use the money saved to invest in mobility, advanced IT solutions, and flexible solutions such as cloud.
Technology is one piece of the puzzle. Achieving this end-to-end care journey also requires a change in the organization by enabling information sharing with the rest of the ecosystem. There needs to be a change in how all stakeholders think about the patient journey, which means embracing a social and organizational shift.
That means hospitals, private clinics, labs, practitioners, nurses, homecare facilities should be organized in a different manner.
Using Big Data to Manage Population Health
The benefits of collaboration and connectivity are vast when it comes to population health management. By having an end-to-end view of the patient journey and patient information, healthcare organizations – including government bodies – can start to stratify the data and determine population-level information, such as whether social behaviors, location, age or work conditions make patients subject to certain diseases. They can then use that information to create prevention plans at a national level and help healthcare organizations serve patients better.
One country that is working toward this type of model is Denmark. CSC implemented a big data platform for the Danish health authority that will enable the country to gather all health information from its citizens dating back to 1980. This includes all information from hospitals, laboratories, healthcare practitioners, community care, and so on. CSC is providing the platform, operating the platform and helping the Danish authority to develop the program. Furthermore, the platform is provided as a service, which means they are only paying for what they use and don’t have to invest in costly technology infrastructures.
To learn more about big data, agile health methodology, technology flexibility, connected health and secure systems, visit the CSC booth #E79 at the HealthIT Expo 2016 in Paris from May 24 to 26.