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Personalization in Healthcare

Aritra Mitra • August 12, 2021
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“We should build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. It is important to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush.”

– Larry Page, Co-founder, Alphabet, and Google

Introduction

With the rise in the integration of technology into our lives, the demand for personalization of care is on the rise globally. Convenience, accessibility, and availability are paramount for patients, especially the ones suffering from specific diseases that require intricate care. The ability to schedule online appointments, easy access to medical records, and a simplified way of communication with providers have become the key elements in meeting the expectations of patients.

COVID-19 has changed the way the world functions. It has also revealed that patients across demographics demand greater personalization and frictionless experience with healthcare organizations in their journeys to find, access, and track care. With the aid of advancing technologies, healthcare is evolving to meet these demands of balancing standardized and personalized care experiences at scale.

Personalization in healthcare is the need of the hour…

With this evolution, there is a greater need for clinicians and providers to have access to patient information in real-time and from anywhere, irrespective of the platform. Information, communication, speed, and customization help deliver a tailored approach to healthcare for individuals thus maintaining a personal touch with patients globally.

As today’s healthcare ecosystem is becoming increasingly patient-centric, their expectations from healthcare facilities keep increasing. Personalized experiences are slowly becoming the norm. The vision of the healthcare’s future is clear: patients engage and share their information with hospitals and practitioners, who in turn use this information to further personalize the experiences.

Enhancing care through interoperability of healthcare data…

Creating an effective health information exchange that acts as a single source of truth is integral to semantic and structural interoperability. Instead of having sections of patient records scattered across several facilities and systems, gathering all available patient information in a central hub helps care teams easily access and view the same information.

By making this information centralized and accessible, providers can budget their available time accordingly. Instead of spending hours mining information from disjointed, complicated, and varying technologies and locations, they can focus on more meaningful patient care interactions, conversations, and treatment plans.

Because providers are working with a more complete medical record, they are able to make faster treatment and care decisions – helping patients can feel more confident in their care. Redundancy and waste are also reduced, which makes the ultimate goal of connecting and protecting patients and their healthcare data achievable.

Building the path towards a truly personalized experience…

To deliver a truly personalized healthcare experience, we should take into account individual preferences, such as the treatment the patient wishes to follow, how they want to access medical services and how they will collaborate with their care team. It requires technology to synthesize patient data from multiple databases to help create a holistic care experience. It is important for healthcare providers to make healthcare records accessible in an industry-standard format irrespective of the Electronic Health Record (EHR) providers. This enables other healthcare data management systems to communicate with one another and to exchange information seamlessly.

Establishing a healthcare data interoperability interface like Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resource (FHIR) goes a long way in helping empower patients for better collaboration with the care teams. FHIR APIs facilitate data exchange between health systems, helping build secure applications for patients to access data from a platform of choice. This makes patients active, informed partners with their care providers.

As enterprises are looking at the possibility of a holistic care experience, there are significant security risks facing healthcare data during an exchange between health systems. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has thus introduced The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to establish national standards for the protection of certain health information. This plays a significant role in safeguarding patient information while providing support at any point in the healthcare chain.

Potential solutions to adopt personalization in healthcare…

A flexible, scalable, and secure data platform unifies diverse data sources such as imaging and medical device data, hospital data, and other clinical data from across the healthcare ecosystem. By automating workflows and collecting, aggregating, and modeling data from a wide range of health sources, providers gain valuable insights into the treatment and outcomes of their patients. These insights can be used to build futuristic and viable solutions for improved patient care.

The data can be used to build a personalized treatment journey for patients where they would be able to access all information related to their disease and also connect to the doctors or clinicians of their choice. Leveraging the benefits of data interoperability, doctors would be able to access the entire medical history of the patients, irrespective of their care providers, which would help curate an exclusive treatment journey for better care. Patients can also create or get access to communities or forums to connect to similarly diagnosed patients globally and share their treatment experiences.

Adding to this, in a world that is recovering from a global pandemic, patients are skeptical of stepping out of their homes, especially for hospital visits. A solution, that can provide curated care from anywhere around the globe and without visiting the doctors physically would encourage patients to reach out for better care and help reduce patient negligence.

With the government recommending that users should be in control of their data; healthcare systems need to provide a mechanism that allows them to collaborate and interoperate with one another in creating a much-improved user experience leading to embracing personalized medicines.

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