Data is ubiquitous in healthcare, but many healthcare systems lack the interoperability and analytic capabilities to use it to their advantage. Advances in patient outcomes and lower costs are increasingly tied to an organization’s ability to share data across systems and use analytics to find the meaning and knowledge in these very large data sets. This insight was at the core of our conversation with Jack Wankowski, vice president of healthcare and life sciences at NTT Data Services, about how data and its supporting technology is transforming healthcare in the EMEA region.
How have patient expectations around healthcare services changed?
People expect the same level of sophistication and service in healthcare that they find in retail transactions, but are often disappointed, because healthcare is still using outdated processes for appointment scheduling, payments, and communication. And people are becoming more aware of the need to change lifestyle habits to avoid disease, but healthcare systems have not yet developed to help them achieve that.
What other healthcare friction factors currently exist in this region?
A: The challenge for everyone is accessing the available data, because of limited interoperability among electronic health record (EHR) systems. Providers need accurate, comprehensive information for their care decisions. Payers want data to identify whether the right services are being delivered to avoid waste. Life sciences firms need extensive data to assess pharmaceutical effectiveness. Also, the change from paper-based to electronic records has a big impact on processes and culture, and this can be the most crucial piece to get right in a technology deployment.
How can healthcare organizations address these factors with new IT investments?
A: Data integration and systems architecture that is more agile and flexible is key. Going forward, we will need to integrate data from a broader array of sources, and few organizations have the integration capabilities needed or the systems architecture to do that. Use of cloud storage and applications will continue to grow, because they offer greater flexibility and don’t require the capital investments of in-house hardware and software. A partnership with a good systems integrator can help guide IT investments in the right direction.
What results and benefits do healthcare organizations expect from IT?
Providers always look for ways to make more informed decisions and improve how they deliver care. Payers seek to retain patients by offering programs that help them make better decisions about maintaining their health and using healthcare services. And life sciences firms want to obtain data on drug performance and effectiveness through integration in the workflows of clinical systems.
The public health systems in many European countries will look for technology to support care management programs for patients. Countries in the Middle East will need technology to support strong population growth and development of private healthcare insurance.
All countries will need technology that can adapt to more regulations regarding how personal health information is managed and secured. The challenge here will be how to protect patient privacy in a way that doesn’t overly restrict data sharing to support clinical care or to draw analytics for population-level health improvements.
Healthcare IT Investments Around the Globe
It’s clear that technology solutions for data access and management will be an essential consideration for all healthcare organizations across the globe. These organizations are using new technology investments to drive digital business, reduce costs, and make improvements in patient care and safety. Learn more by reading the other articles in this series: