The Top 4 Healthcare Data Trends of 2023
Healthcare is an ever-evolving industry, driven by a continual increase in new technology, new therapeutics, and a growing population. Much of the healthcare community focuses on leveraging data for better treatments, more timely interventions, and effective cost management. Outside influences, including growing populations affected by chronic conditions and the threat of another pandemic, put healthcare organizations in a position of managing today’s demand with short ramps to large increases in demand that must be forecast, managed, and prepared for.
Each of these dynamics has the potential to be reshaped and more effectively managed with data. Today’s healthcare professionals have unique opportunities to evaluate a patient, and quickly compare results to larger populations and the individual’s past medical history. Smartwatches, connected hospital devices, rapid blood tests, and sophisticated lab analyses enable greater visibility into patients’ conditions, their response to treatment, their environmental conditions, and the lifestyle choices that affect treatment planning and recommendations.
All trends in healthcare data usage follow a similar pattern: improving patient care while lowering costs. This can be a difficult balance; chronic conditions are measured in high-touch interactions and treatments over extended periods of time to ensure a high quality of life. Successful healthcare organizations will continue to innovate how they engage with patients outside of a clinic or hospital. These have the potential for a very high return when we ensure compliance with medication plans, regular follow-up on lab work, and other tests that will enable early treatment intervention.
- Patient Experience – Patients are demanding a richer experience with providers. They expect mobile experiences to book appointments, the ability to see medical records on demand, and quickly approve the sharing of records with specialized clinics they visit. Data is at the heart of these expectations. The ability to integrate data from multiple systems or organizations, expose it securely for patients, and enable absolute control over who can access their medical history are all key elements in building this experience.
- Gamification – The patient journey today has moved far beyond a simple appointment with a doctor or laboratory. Providers are exploring the most impactful tools to engage with patients constantly and ensure they arrive for appointments, take necessary medication, stick to lifestyle choices, and have forums to ask questions immediately during their care journey. Many providers are exploring and testing gamification techniques, including rewards, points, and badges to encourage patients to stick with care plans and commitments for lifestyle changes.
- Augment Doctors and Clinical Staff – Doctors often have a brief window with a patient to assess their symptoms, make a care determination, and coach the patient on behaviors to help resolve or manage the condition. By coupling this time with capabilities like text messaging, automatic reminders, auto-prescription refills, and pre-scheduled lab tests, we can increase a doctor’s impact on their patients.
- Clinical Planning – Historical data provides unique opportunities to assist clinics in automating the scheduling of staff anchored around known demand needs and indicators. The automated scheduling assists with both capacity management, but also feeds hiring needs, training requirements, and allocation of specialists across a provider’s network.
While the goal is improved patient outcomes, these trends and the supporting data also assist with minimizing burnout on clinical staff, keeping patients engaged throughout treatment plans, and improving time management in busy clinics. Data is pervasive in healthcare environments. By describing our desired outcome through the lens of our patients and providers, we can assemble our data, digital applications, processes, and engagement methods to maximize impact.