5 critical technologies health systems should require

By Michelle McNickle
12:49 PM

The need for tools that help provide coordinated care is growing. And according to Sai Subramaniam, business head for Life Sciences & Healthcare at Persistent Systems, health IT professionals need to start thinking beyond traditional models of building and running applications, which tend to be "complex and expensive."

"Taking a platform as a service approach (PaaS)… healthcare IT professionals can now 
focus on building integrated care management applications and providing real
 value to physicians and patients," he said. 

"The benefits for healthcare organizations, patients, and professionals include the ability to deliver custom risk and analytics tools faster, [the ability to] implement evidence-based rules and guidelines quicker, and having the capacity to help caregivers collaborate and intervene in real-time."

Subramaniam outlines five critical and enabling technologies health systems should require.

1. Predictive analytics and modeling tools. According to Subramaniam, these tools are used to "stratify" the population, identify at-risk patients, provide better provision screening tests, identify gaps in care, and facilitate better pre-care planning. "Such pre-care HIT tools will provide actionable information that a physician can use at [the] point of care," he said. "This can be bolstered by big data, such as text analytics and social media analytics to identify patterns and trends."

[See also: 5 technologies every hospital should be using.]

2. Business intelligence tools. These tools are needed at the point of care, so physicians can quickly interpret data, define "health interventions," and support actions such as specialist referrals and disease management. "It's critical that the reports and dashboards are intuitive and interactive -- like graphs, heat maps, etc. -- for seamless clinical decision support," said Subramaniam. "Since the number and kinds of clinical quality measures will evolve, the tools have to be flexible."

3. Portal and CRM tools. These tools are used to manage patient's pre-care and post-care needs. "Tools such as health risk assessment and visit coordination are important for pre-care, whereas adherence and online tele-visits are important for post-care," said Subramaniam. CRM tools, he continued, allow care coordinators to track patients and intervene proactively, all while using integrated "contact center" technologies. "Portals can provide detailed educational information for patients to access and learn at their convenience," he said.

[See also: 6 golden rules of EMR implementation.]

4. Mobility apps tools. Physicians look to these tools mainly for post-care procedures or outreach and education. "Patients need to be able to access and report critical information on the go to help them adhere to interventions defined at the point of care," said Subramaniam. "This includes accessing guidelines prescribed by physicians, as well as having the capability to report health information, such as sugar levels and blood pressure, back to the physician." Portals need to be accessible from smartphones, while providing access to tools like health information libraries and health calculators, Subramaniam added.

5. Collaboration and social tools. These allow health systems to collaborate, engage, and make long-term behavioral changes in the population. "Care coordinators should have access to online chat platforms that allow online interactions with fellow caregivers and facilitate better case management," said Subramaniam. Patients need to be on a community social platform, he continues, "where games and activities will promote health behaviors like exercise, losing weight, smoking cessation, and alcohol abstinence."


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