Why Data Analytics is Important in Primary Healthcare

Data analytics is expected to reduce the cost of healthcare significantly. This is a welcome solution to a serious problem of increasing cost of healthcare in the United States. The cost of healthcare is a lot higher than it should be and continues to rise. This isn’t news to most people. But data and information technology can be a bigger part of the solution than most people realize, and while electronic recordkeeping still has a long way to go, it’s only part of the potential for these types of resources. Insurance companies are also trying to implement strategies that would reduce the cost of care such as switching from fee-for-service to plans that put patient outcomes and value of care first.

Fee-for-service sounds like a great, intuitive system that would reward the rational consumer. Unfortunately, instead, this payment method too often rewards doctors for using expensive and sometimes unnecessary treatments method and for treating lots of patients in a short time frame. This payment method consistently does not put the needs of the patients first or the quality of care for that matter. While managed care health systems have proven to be better care delivery model for cost control, it too has plenty of shortcomings. Especially when it comes to family medicine. Instead of seeing their primary care physician as a true family doctor that gains a holistic view of an individual’s health priorities, people tend to see these doctors as simply the gatekeepers for specialty care for which they’ve already identified their need online.  

Better Incentives and Methods for Clinical Practices

In the past, healthcare providers had no direct incentive to share patient information with one another, which had made it harder to utilize the power of analytics. The case is different now as there is a free flow of information between and within organizations. Now that more physicians and healthcare practitioners are getting paid based on patient outcomes, they have a financial incentive to share data that can be used to improve the lives of patients while cutting costs for insurance companies.

Clinical analytics and performance metrics have also helped physicians become more evidence-based. This means that they rely on large swathes of research and clinical data as opposed to solely their schooling and professional opinion. A good doctor never stops learning and catching up on the latest advances, new procedures such as non-invasive surgeries and so on.  As in many other industries, data gathering and management are getting bigger, and professionals need help in the matter. This new treatment attitude means there is a greater demand for big data analytics in healthcare facilities than ever before.

Specific Points of Emphasis

There’s no doubt that data analytics has already transformed the healthcare industry and continues to do so. The healthcare industry slowly started adopting the new technology and innovations that were flooding the industry and now the adoption rate has quickened. The adoption of new technology is what will push health and digital health to new levels. Here is a rundown of how data technologies are contributing to healthcare:

  • Predict the daily patient income to tailor staffing accordingly
  • Use Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
  • Use real-time alerting for instant care
  • Help in preventing opioid abuse in the US
  • Enhance patient engagement in their own health
  • Use health data for a better-informed strategic planning
  • Research more extensively to cure cancer
  • Use predictive analytics
  • Reduce fraud and enhance data security
  • Practice telemedicine
  • Integrate medical imaging for a broader diagnosis
  • Prevent unnecessary ER visits

Lingering Obstacles to Better Data Analytics in Healthcare

Incompatible data systems are the biggest technical challenge, as making these data sets able to interface with each other is quite a feat. Different healthcare organizations use different technology platforms to store and process their data and also use different binding techniques such as late-binding and early-binding. Thus merging data sets stored in incompatible systems always proves problematic.

Patient confidentiality issues is another big challenge. There are different laws state by state which govern what patient information can be released with or without consent, and all of these would have to be navigated. Patient pieces of information are sensitive and the wrong move could result in a huge lawsuit that would cost the healthcare organization more money and resources. In addition, institutions which have put a lot of time and money into developing their own cancer dataset may not be eager to share with others, even though it could lead to a cure much more quickly and improved healthcare for all.

Holistic Approaches to Caring for Elderly Parents

Elder care is unlike any other type of care a person can provide. Whether you’ve been a parent, a caregiver for someone else, or even an attentive pet parent, very little can prepare you for taking care of a senior. Caring for an ageing adult requires a certain skillset, and caring for a parent can sometimes impose an additional mental or emotional.

While you may want to take charge of your parent’s health by moving them home with you, it’s important to understand that you may not be able to provide the level of care they need. In thinking holistically about senior health, you’ll come to understand that caring for an ageing parent requires more than feeding them three healthy meals and dispensing medication every day.

A Three-Pronged Elder Care Approach

If your parent is seeking ways to improve their life as an older person, you’ll want to think about all aspects of senior life – not just physical health. Here are a few facets of senior living to consider when suggesting and administering changes.

  • Emotional Health: Feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation typically increase with age. According to a Centers for Disease Control study, more than 1 in 5 adults over 55 years old experience some type of mental health concern. Getting your parent the care they need – be it therapy, an emotionally healthy living environment, or medication – can make all the difference.
  • Social Health: Senior loneliness is a growing issue in America. It can be difficult to make friends as an older adult, and if your parent lives alone, they likely spend most waking hours by themselves. Living in a senior community or with peers can improve social health and facilitate a full, enjoyable senior life.
  • Physical Wellness: Physical health is a paramount concern for most older people, but folks tend to overlook physical wellness. Of course, you want your parent to receive the healthcare they need, but what about eating foods that make them feel good, or being able to maintain a healthy sleep schedule? These parts of wellness are often inaccessible when living alone or with family, and conflicting schedules can make such tasks difficult to achieve.

As with caring for any type of dependent, be it a child or a pet, caring for an ageing parent can be extraordinarily difficult. Beyond physical needs, like medicine administration and healthcare, your parent is not likely able to see you as an authority or care figure. Managing mental, psychological, and physical needs of a parent requires individuals to overcome whatever care hierarchy was established in childhood. For some, this may be insurmountable.

Relinquishing Control to a Senior Care Facility

Nobody will love your parent like you do. We understand that. But, at some point, you’ll need to realize that you won’t always be able to provide the care your parent needs. Only trained professionals, like home health aides and staff members at senior care facilities, can provide them with the care they need. Plus, these days, senior care facilities are better equipped to manage all aspects of health than they were in decades past. The senior homes of today are not what our grandparents experienced; they often involve maintaining mental and emotional wellbeing, social health, and the medical needs of all residents, regardless of age, need, or ability.