Connected Healthcare – More Ben Franklin, Fewer Benjamins!

 In AI, ML and Data, Healthcare and Life Sciences

Since the earliest days of the America republic, Health Care has been at the center of the national conversation.  Just think of founding father Benjamin Franklin exhorting “An apple a day helps keep the doctor away.”  Clearly, even in 1776 people did not want to have to pay the doctor’s bills!  But over the last 25 years, and particularly since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, healthcare has really become front and center in our national conversation. And for good reason, given it is the largest spend in our country, more than even the military.

In response to all the recent legislation– at every level including local, state and federal –  and the heavy burden placed on our economy, the healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation from a “fee for service” to “pay for performance” business model.  In other words, it is moving from a reactive to proactive service model. For such industry transformation, the key elements are a broader understanding of the patient, engagement with them at a much deeper level and active management of the community to prevent disease or from deterioration of their conditions.

Persistent has been working with healthcare organizations like, Hackensack Medical Center and Louisiana Public Health Institute, as their digital technology partner to enable transformation at scale.
Persistent Health Care strategy for execution is called Connected Health. This blog series will look at an array of issues and opportunities in front of the healthcare industry. In the coming weeks we will look at how to scale up care delivery capabilities, eliminate silos and consolidate disparate information into one view. We will discuss how we can innovate in virtual medicine, integrate devices into the care team, and create interactive experiences for patients and families. Today we’ll look at what exactly Connected Health is.

What is Connected Health:

Focused on digital innovation to improve service quality, enhancing patient experience and lowering the cost of providing patient care, the Connected Health platform and capabilities are the future. The foundation of Persistent’s digital platform is the Patient360 data supply chain that is a unique approach to interoperability and healthcare data. In this blog, we intend to describe some of the issues with accessibility to healthcare data and why patient360 is critical to success in healthcare transformation.

Connect Health Care blog image July 13 2016

Patient data unfortunately remains in disparate IT systems across the organization.  The number of applications in a healthcare business – whether EMRs, PMSs or others- have increased over the last few decades to cater to the evolving functions in an organization. Whether you are a small practice or a large system, you can no longer operate with a single application. This is not surprising. When you look closer, you will see that this growth in healthcare IT systems is a reflection of the growth in medical knowledge. There are now hundreds of specialties and sub specialties, and every healthcare professional has to juggle with a myriad of processes to tackle the increasing complexity in diseases. While the technology evolution has mirrored the knowledge driven expansion of healthcare organizations, this growth has come at a cost.  Information systems have taken on some of the self-defeating characteristics of the businesses they support. We now have data silos just as we have organizational silos. Data is poorly managed not unlike the fate of the people who help generate them.  Leadership is often unaware of the tremendous value of data in solving bedside problems just as they are out of touch with people at the frontlines of care.

Data Front and Center:

Now with the regulatory drive for healthcare transformation there is agreement that moving forward will require putting data right in front of every initiative. A successful transformation will need good data not just for strategy formation but also for seamless execution.

To understand this let us examine the relationship between change initiatives, operations and data from perspective of the overarching theme of transformation – patient centeredness. The centrality of patients is a strategy to get the entire operations of a healthcare organization organized around the patients’ needs. It is supposed to serve as a forcing function to remove the waste and cross purposes in which the system functions.

Connect Health Care blog image 2 July 13 2016


In order for different parts of an organization to operate synergistically there has to be transparency regarding activities executed toward patients’ goals. This information is necessary not just for aligning resources or planning new programs but also for clinical decision-making. This can come only from having access to comprehensive data about patients. An example of how data about a patient’s chronic disease is often incomplete is when information about their mental health issues are not available to the chronic disease treatment providers. The completeness of data in such a case affects not only decisions on the type of the care program that is required for such patients but also bedside treatment decisions. The cost and quality impact of such incomplete data can be seen all across healthcare.

Persistent Systems realizes the problem is not a lack of data but a problem of having a robust supply chain that can bring disparate data together. The digital platform caters to the unique business and clinical needs of the organization’s data consumers by making data available when she needs it, in the way she uses it. The data is not only curated but exposed as APIs for consumption in the evolving set of applications that users need for their need. The APIs are built on the FHIR standard which allows a granular approach to handling the data. Persistent’s user app creation technologies enhance the value of this data by providing a Lego block approach to consuming the APIs in various user experiences. This combination of technologies allows for distribution of data in a simple yet highly adaptable manner that gives managers and leaders the ability to deploy applications in a quick and flexible manner.

Wow, that was a lot. As you can tell, we’re passionate about Connected Health. We’d love to hear your thoughts and look forward to you joining us over the coming weeks and months.

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