In recent years, the healthcare industry has undergone a significant shift, moving towards a technology partnership to meet its highly data-driven demands. This partnership reveals how hospitals are leveraging healthcare professionals’ expertise and knowledge with technological advancements to deliver patients a tailored and holistic experience.
The integration of digital tools and products in healthcare initially progresses slowly due to the intricate nature of technology and its application to human biology. However, these tools are now readily accessible, facilitating improved patient care. One crucial outcome of promoting innovation in the healthcare industry is the advancement of personalized care. Personalized care acknowledges that each individual patient has different health needs and preferences that are reached by a more catered approach to care. This methodology leads to more effective treatments, better health outcomes, and quality of care. Personalization of care is a key trend seen in healthcare, patients are expecting a more in-touch and well-rounded experience. The healthcare industry has been undergoing a rapid transformation and hospitals that utilize innovations to bridge the gap between patient experience and expectations result in offering more personalized care. By embracing this approach, healthcare providers drive progress within the industry.
With healthcare shifting to offer a more personalized experience for patients, there are many factors motivating this change. KRC Research worked with the Personalized Medicine Coalition to explore public opinion of personalized medicine. The survey found 65% of consumers had a positive reaction after hearing a description of personalized medicine. Within a focus group, also conducted by KRC Research, participants felt a positive response because, ‘it is proactive, patient-centered, and helps streamline doctor/patient decision-making’. While personalized medicine and personalized care are distinct concepts, they share a deep connection, and public opinion tends to view them similarly. Personalized care is an emerging trend, seeing great traction within the industry.
An increasing number of hospitals and healthcare organizations recognize the potential benefits technology brings and are beginning to utilize approaches in their practice. New technological advancements have opened doors for both patients and providers that haven't been obtainable till now. In the same vein, innovations create smarter patients, armed with increased accessibility to information. An important concept to note is the push for a democratization of data in healthcare, which strives to make healthcare data more accessible and transparent for patients. The combination of new technology and this launch of making data readily available to all reinforces personalized care in the healthcare landscape. It generates a larger pool of knowledge for patients and providers to access to make more informed decisions about their care.
Patient-centric care follows four fundamental truths: predictive, preventive, personalized, and participative. A new wave of patients has emerged, characterized by their proactive approach to healthcare and their willingness to actively participate in their own care. Patients are more engaged in their decisions and demand a more personalized level of care that incorporates their needs, preferences, and values. Hospitals and healthcare providers recognize that patients are experts in their health and are working together as a team to treat their health concerns.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports an average American spends around $12,913 on healthcare annually. The goal for hospitals that adopt a value-based care system is to improve the health outcomes of patients while also reducing overall healthcare costs.
It prioritizes patient satisfaction, a decline in readmission, and improvement of chronic disease management. With the cost of living only increasing, patients want the most bang for their buck. Personalized care aims to identify and treat the root of problems, meaning patients spend less money on prescriptions, readmission to hospitals, and additional appointments or diagnostics that result in burdensome copays. The rising cost of healthcare has prompted a focus on personalized care that delivers more effective and efficient treatments.
With an increase in chronic diseases seen in the United States, personalization is a necessary adjustment in healthcare. The National Institutes of Health estimates that by 2050, the number of individuals aged 50 years and above with at least one chronic disease will increase by 99.5%, from 71.522 million in 2020 to 142.66 million. Personalized care strives to treat the disease before it occurs, monitor the condition and create an agile plan of care. This approach to care helps patients manage their health better, lowering the rise of chronic conditions and keeping patients healthier.
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it is likely that personalized care will become even more widespread and integrated into everyday healthcare practices. Personalized care offers a new model of healthcare, focusing on providing a better, more well-rounded level of care that treats the patient as a whole. Personalized care addresses the root of the problem, mitigating the risks of a potential domino effect. Its efforts reduce the revolving door syndrome, many healthcare providers see. The National Library of Medicine reports readmission of patients within 30 days of being previously treated costs $52.4 billion annually. Personalized care breaks the cycle of "forever patients" by empowering individuals to take an active role in managing their health, keeping them out of hospitals and emergency rooms, and reducing readmission overhead costs.
One of the top initiatives of hospitals should be how their patients feel about their experiences. When it comes to health, each patient wants to feel valued and like they’re not just another chart. Personalized care puts the ‘care’ back in healthcare. It allows patients to explain their health concerns, and symptoms, exploring potential causes and effects. Organizations that offer patients a personalized care experience, build a pillar of trust between the patient and the providers. It attracts more patients and boosts retention because patients feel prioritized by their providers, and are offered a more active role in their care. As a result, patients that receive personalized care feel more empowered. Organizations adopting a personalized care approach potentially reduce patient transition paperwork, as patients don’t feel the need to shift from one location to the next in search of better care. This future model of healthcare greatly benefits hospitals and healthcare organizations.
Maggie is a 55-year woman with type 2 diabetes. Despite following her treatment plan and making lifestyle changes, she has been struggling to manage her blood sugar levels. As a result, she's in and out of the emergency department and constantly seeing specialists. She’s spent a great deal of money on testing, and copays. She feels powerless and uninformed in her care. Her healthcare provider recommends that she try a personalized care approach. Maggie uses wearable tech to monitor her blood sugar levels and downloads an app that asks a series of questions about her medical history, diet, exercise regime, and her lifestyle. She frequently communicates with her provider through a patient portal, increasing her trust. Maggie and her doctor review the data from the wearable device and app to generate a personalized care plan. The app has reminders to take medication, measure blood sugar, track exercise, and diet, and provide nutritional recommendations. All the data collected is consistently reviewed with Maggie and her provider to make accommodations. Over time, Maggie begins to learn how to manage her type 2 diabetes. She visits the emergency department less and feels more empowered and engaged in her care.
The intersection of healthcare and innovation propels the industry towards an exhilarating era of transformative care. With integrated new technology into hospitals and healthcare organizations, personalized care is a possibility and no longer a pipedream. Personalized care is achieved through a variety of innovations and new technologies.
A key component of personalized care is treating the patient with a sense of individualism, exploring the root causes of any conditions, and collaborating on a treatment plan. Preventative analytics is closely related to personalized care. It leverages the abilities of machine learning and AI to collect an extensive amount of data and analyze it for patterns or inferences. This data can be clinical data including medical history, diagnoses, medication lists, and lab results. Or imaging such as CT scans or ultrasounds. AI has the ability to explore connections in data like blood glucose levels or genetic mutations that link to diseases. In 2021, 90% of healthcare organizations have adopted some form of AI or machine learning strategies, with the number only rising.
Machine learning and AI aren’t just used in healthcare for data collection and analysis, their abilities include medical note-taking, transcribing video conferencing or education, and preparing referrals and authorization requisitions. AI in healthcare automates tasks or acts as a patient's virtual assistant, keeping track of treatment plans, appointment reminders, and improved follow-up care. This implementation ensures patients feel connected, informed, and like an integral part of their treatment plan.
Preventative analytics can be described as the sister school of thought to personalized care. It enables providers to offer personalized care. It revolves around using data and information for rapid diagnosing and treating patients quicker. The analytics collected from wearable devices measure heart rate, blood pressure, or patient-generated information regarding lifestyle or diet. Armed with the data provided by preventative analytics, patients and providers work together to make a personalized treatment plan. Such as early medical treatment to prevent the onset of a disease or identify fundamental lifestyle changes to prevent progression. Preventative analytics is a powerful resource for providers, allowing them to strike when the irons hot and facilitating accessibility to more information and resources. With preventative analytics providers are able to identify patients who are at elevated risk of conditions or diseases. Empowering them to create personalized treatment plans tailored to their unique needs. Data analytics has evolved into an essential utility for healthcare. Rather than a mere luxury, it has become a necessity for healthcare providers, enabling them to enhance and optimize their decision-making processes, which in turn drives their overall patient experience.
Innovations like digital tools and products impact how the industry operates and contributes to a more streamlined implementation of personalized care. These forms of technology are built to improve communication between patients and physicians, through more efficient and effective patient portals. Patient portals have been increasingly common in the last three years. Since 2020, HealthIT reports nearly 40% of individuals nationwide utilize patient portals, a 13% increase since 2014. They allow for quick and easy communication regarding prescription questions, scheduling or modifying appointments, and viewing lab results. However, patient portals do have some barriers to access. Individuals that aren’t technologically savvy or have a strong digital literacy struggle with accessing the valuable information found on these portals. Digital products that are built with a high emphasis on strategic design and prioritize how a user interacts with and uses an application, result in an intuitive user interface (UI) that counters this barrier. Patient portals support patients in becoming more engaged in their own care, improve patient satisfaction, and reduce administrative burdens on healthcare providers.
A large part of hospitals depend on legacy systems to collect, store and manage electronic health records (EHR). Digital products are developed to improve hospitals' EHR systems, increasing accuracy, and accessibility and reducing the potential for human errors. Digital products are integrated seamlessly with existing systems improving the functionality and making it easier for providers to access and share data. On the same thread, digital products enable health information exchanges (HIEs). These exchanges are a vital component of care, as they allow providers to share data between different systems or doctors to coordinate treatment plans. Digital products completely transform how HIEs are cross-functionally shared, reducing the likelihood of errors such as duplicates of paperwork or general medical errors.
By improving the storage and tracking of EHR, and increasing the accuracy of HIEs, healthcare providers can easily access and analyze the information, allowing them to provide more personalized patient care. However, it is essential to note that new technologies enable hospitals and healthcare organizations to collect an extensive amount of data. While an influx of data is vital for patient care, it’s important organizations have additional products/tools to help staff manage the new surplus of data preventing the creation of an information silo.
The healthcare industry is in a constant state of evolution as new technologies emerge, that have the potential to transform how the industry operates. The industry is experiencing a strong push for change, prompted by innovation and a shift towards a more patient-centric and value-based approach to care. As a result, healthcare organizations are undergoing significant transformations. Incorporating the powers of digital tools and products and other innovative technologies enables healthcare professionals and providers to deliver more personalized care to patients. These technologies have the potential to benefit not only patients, but also doctors, nurses, and technicians, by transforming the care delivery process as a whole.