Beyond the Electronic Health Record
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the opportunities presented by clinical analytics. Nearly any question they have about their population can be answered by the data at hand, but narrowing it down to the questions that matter most to their—or their customers’—business is the critical step. Prioritization, therefore, becomes the key to success.
The challenge they face is not just when, but how to use this data effectively. Is it important to know what percentage of your diabetic population is adhering to treatment? Is it even more important to understand the reasons behind non-adherence, so that you can build programs to address those reasons? Do you want to leverage patient data for more streamlined prior authorization processes? What potential drug contra-indications exist for your patient population? Where are the gaps in care, and how narrowly can you personalize the corresponding treatment options? The data are at hand to answer these questions, but only some will best serve a particular company’s needs.
Nearly any health care company responsible for a patient or provider touch point – from explanation of benefits to eligibility requests to filling a prescription – can use clinical data to improve the quality of care and to lower costs. And, if a health care company is willing to forgo the traditional boundaries that define its business, the leveraging of clinical data can generate significant competitive points of difference and add forward-looking dimensions to their value proposition. The use of analytics is so nascent that the first-to-market position is still open in most market segments.
At a recent Health Technology Investment Forum in San Francisco, investors highlighted the need to look beyond the EHR to the value that can be created by turning that data into actionable knowledge. As one venture capitalist noted, “If it’s not actionable, it has no use,” and that entrepreneurs need to prove what difference their data makes. That is indeed the challenge and the opportunity. The implementation of EHRs is not the finish line – it’s just the first step in what will be a radical and immensely transformative era for U.S. health care.