Genomics, patient generated health data to be top information sources in five years, survey finds

The lack of adequate EHR interoperability continues to hinder healthcare organizations ability to use patient data in care delivery, the report’s author said.
By Jack McCarthy
09:42 AM

The importance of genomic and patient-generated data will increase dramatically in the next five years as healthcare managers gain control of Big Data to develop precision medicine.

Forty percent of respondents to a new survey, in fact, said genomic data will become one of the most useful data sources in five years, up from just 17 percent today. And forty percent said patient-generated data will be a top source of data in five years, opposed to 30 percent listed it as a top source today.

“The landscape is shifting from one of despair over the unfulfilled promises of big data to a more realistic vision of what sophisticated analytics can do to transform care delivery,” wrote Amy Compton-Phillips MD, chief clinical officer for Providence St. Joseph Health, who authored the report for NEJM Catalyst

Clinical data, listed as a top source of data today by 95 percent of respondents, will decline slightly to 85 percent in five years, while they said usefulness of cost data will increase to 58 percent in five years from 56 percent today. The respondents said claims data will drop in usefulness from 45 percent today to 32 percent in five years.

[Also: Hospital datacenters: Extinct in 5 years?]

With patient-generated data and genomic data, healthcare leaders will be able to customize medical options specific to each patient’s needs, giving a boost to priorities such as care coordination and improved decision support, the survey indicated.

“This rejiggering of the top useful sources of healthcare data tells us that people realize cost matters,” Compton-Phillips  added. “What’s more, they expect that personalized medicine, powered by data, will reduce the costs of care while simultaneously improving patient outcomes.”

The current state of data usage in patient care is not held in high regard.

The survey found that fewer than 20 percent of respondents believe their organization’s use of data for direct patient care is “extremely effective” or “very effective.” Most believe their organizational effectiveness lies somewhere between either “effective” or “not very effective” — while 8 percent termed their organization’s use of data “not at all effective.”

Lack of interoperability, listed by 72 percent of respondents, undermines better use of patient data.

A higher percentage of executives answering the survey (79 percent) than clinicians (69 percent) believe interoperability to be one of the top three barriers to better use of patient data. Difficulty collecting data (62 percent) and its related barrier, time required (60 percent), also pose big challenges to doing more with data.

“The effort required to obtain critical inputs such as patient-generated data, feed it into EHR systems, and then be able to analyze it for actionable insights has been a significant hindrance to broader adoption,” Compton-Phillips wrote. “For patient data to become more impactful in health care, provider organizations will have to figure out how to efficiently obtain, integrate, and share information across disparate systems.” 

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