Leveraging Data for Better Patient Care
Solutions that reduce variance of diagnoses, improve quality of care, and deliver better patient outcomes
Looking at how data can improve healthcare — both at a macro and micro level — has been a strategy at Medtronic for more than 60 years. Darrell Johnson, vice president of data science at Medtronic, discusses the near-and long-term benefits of data-driven solutions for clinicians and patients alike.
What is the biggest challenge facing health systems today?
DJ: In today’s healthcare system, there is a growing problem related to supply and demand.
The uptick in demand stems from many factors, but perhaps most significantly, an aging population with high rates of multiple chronic diseases. Americans with five or more chronic conditions make up 12% of the population but account for 41% of total health care spending.
The supply shortage likely comes by way of hospital systems struggling to make ends meet. Sixty percent of hospital expenses are attributed to labor costs, yet, a recent survey reported nearly 90% of physicians surveyed only spend about 40% of their time on direct patient care.
To close the gap between what patients need and what healthcare systems can provide, we’re developing solutions designed to help clinicians reduce variance of diagnoses, improve quality of care, and deliver better patient outcomes.
What role does data play?
DJ: Leveraging data to improve healthcare has been a long-standing priority at Medtronic. Today, there is a need for additional real-world evidence to support controlled pre- or post-market clinical studies. In an uncontrolled environment, there are many factors that could impact outcomes. Front-line clinicians need an understanding of the specific patient cohort and these additional factors to make informed care decisions, create better care pathways, and improve patient outcomes.
With a continued focus on data standardization through EHRs, there have been technology advances over the past 10 years to facilitate real-world data sourcing and evidence generation. Collaborating with others, Medtronic seeks to combine EHR data with non-standardized data, providing analysis and insights related to clinical outcomes.
What are the near-term opportunities for data to help clinicians?
DJ: One of our biggest priorities is to help automate and contextualize data collection. Clinicians don’t want a high volume of noisy data. They want highly trusted data, packaged with actionable insights. Our goal is to first apply advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and our device technology to facilitate static and dynamic data collection. From there, we collaborate with our customers to create comprehensive reporting tools that can be leveraged by clinicians, payers and hospital systems.
What is the long-term potential?
DJ: Research suggests it takes an average of 17 years for the majority of physicians to adopt — in clinical practice — new therapy guidelines. At Medtronic, we believe real-world clinical practice outcome evidence can help shorten time to adoption, which will lead to reduced variation and higher quality of care. This outcome evidence provides deeper insight on a patient population and can help clinicians develop more comprehensive, personalized, and integrated care pathways.
We are still in the early phases of creating the ideal longitudinal patient record and providing clinicians with the right data at the right time. But we are trending in the right direction. With the shared goal of improving patient outcomes, we continue our work with others to link multiple data sources with valuable clinical insights. The current challenge is twofold:
How do we empower clinicians with actionable, longitudinal data from patients living with multiple chronic conditions? And how can we efficiently integrate that data into clinicians’ everyday workflow?
How can companies like Medtronic help clinicians and hospital systems build a closed-loop feedback system so individual insights are shared at a broader, more impactful level and all healthcare stakeholders benefit?
The opportunities to make an impact on patient outcomes through data are exciting, and we know collaborations will be key to getting us there.
3. https://revcycleintelligence.com/news/hospitals-target-labor-costslay offs-to-reduce-healthcare-costs