Saturday, May 2, 2015

Uncertain Health in an Insecure World – 37

“Age of Aquarius - Awakening”

This is definitely not the dawning of the Age of Aquarius (The 5th Dimension, 1969). Self-actualization through Zen beliefs and self-help programs is not the likely path forward to better health for most of the world.

In the Age of Aquarius, patients had medical complaints. In the modern era, people have health concerns.

In the Age of Aquarius, physicians developed patient problem lists. In the new era, providers help people set health goals.

My Fitbit buzzes pleasingly on my left wrist when I top 10,000 steps in a day. My last Fitbit weekly progress report tells me that despite averaging 7 hours and 35 minutes of sleep, I tallied >88,000 total steps and covered 41 miles, and was awarded eight badges. I could have told you that I felt healthier after last week, but such feedback data reinforces a conscious personal behavior change.

This is an era where hand-held devices and wearable technologies populate the Cloud with vital lifestyle data that actually feeds back on and reinforces behavioral queues, which could in turn see the long-awaited dawning of personalized healthcare and population health realized.

Let’s call this personal device-derived information “little data”.

At the Kaiser-Permanente (KP) Garfield Innovation Center, the internet of things (IoT) smart condo and self-directed Nissan LEAF vehicle make it clear that personal little data, once it is “collected, mined and federated” using big data analytic capabilities, can direct more healthy behaviors and target more timely medical care in the future.
At the Kaiser-Permanente San Francisco Medical Center, Garfield’s innovative “form ever follows function” healthy designs await implementation. However, the private KP HealthConnect digital platform already allows for patients to link to providers at >600 medical offices and 37 hospitals. Electronic medical record (EMR) and personal health information (PHI) can be securely mined to individually customize medical care and lifestyle services.

Such little data applications are also scaled-up to big datasets that KP actively analyzes to inform the process of care across an expanding >10 million member health insurance plan and healthcare system.

So the era of healthcare technology virginity – and irrational data misanthropy – is over! KP is personalizing medicine and health behaviors with little data, while re-engineering a system of care with big data. 

In the Age of Aquarius, doctors admitted and discharged patients from hospital, and a few health systems measured patient satisfaction. In the modern era, progressive systems like KP are embedding patient assessed measures (PAM’s) and patient recorded outcomes (PRO’s) into their process management initiatives, reflecting the unambiguous connection between data transparency and process improvement.

A Swiss army aphorism that is reasserted by KP leadership states that, “When the map and the terrain disagree, trust the terrain”.

Patients should be trusted to report their on-the-ground healthcare experiences.

It is also said that, “In large bureaucracies, the scariest resource is not access to data, but individual bravery”

Modern healthcare providers & leaders must screw up their courage to seek out and act upon data – whether little or big.

A new data dawn is slowly creeping across the Square. Let us all go to the light! 

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