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Beyond COVID-19: Sustain & Grow Digital-First Healthcare

Thought Leadership

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health initiatives have become urgent and necessary for healthcare organizations.  A new report from Gartner, “It’s Time for Healthcare Delivery Organizations to Adopt a Digital-First Strategy,” describes how healthcare organizations can sustain and build on their digital health advances.

Digital-first healthcare has arrived

As the report points out, healthcare has finally flipped. This industry was built on in-person interactions. Have you ever made an inconvenient trip to an emergency department in the middle of the night, simply because no other form of care was available? 

Now, digital interactions and engagements frame the entire patient journey.

As the Gartner team notes, technology advances such as telehealth have the potential  to improve healthcare for the long-term, from addressing the caregiver shortage to benefiting population health and reducing the costs of care.

Digital-first domains

The report outlines a complete digital-first strategy, based on eight domains. Just a few include:

  • a digital front door that’s the primary conduit between consumers and their healthcare provider
  • a consumer-generated health data (CGHD) repository, where all health data generated by the consumer is stored and managed
  • consumer-mediated data exchange (CME) – coordinates the exchange of consumer health and healthcare information, based on consumer permissions

Person data is essential for digital-first healthcare

As Verato works with our customers on their digital-first initiatives, we’re guided by a fundamental truth. The patient is still the center of digital-first healthcare.

New healthcare channels will depend on bringing together patient data across multiple platforms, while maintaining a consistent, accurate identity for every  person. Right now, the majority of healthcare organizations are lacking the person data infrastructure needed to expand and sustain digital-first healthcare.

On average, 18% of a health system’s medical records are duplicates, which means that one in five patient health histories are incomplete at the point of care[1]. Once this data is shared beyond the organization—such as in a health information exchange—the percentage of errors increases to more than 50 percent, according to research by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

For the typical large healthcare organization, patient data is spread across many different systems and increasingly arrives from external sources as well, including:

  • Multiple versions of the same EHR software
    • Care Everywhere network
    • Patient portal
    • Customer relationship management
    • Call center
    • Billing
    • Imaging
    • And more

The need for modern patient data management

Healthcare organizations need modern patient data management services to act as a master person index and underpin digital-first initiatives. Modern patient data management is universal in scope, supporting digital-first initiatives across an entire health system. This approach gives healthcare organizations the following advantages:

  • Data governance is supported with a single pointer to data about each person.
  • Patient data is highly accurate and unified across the enterprise.
  • Cloud native data management services prevent duplicates and manage patient identity across a vast number of data sources.
  • Data management is quick to deploy, taking far fewer resources than historically necessary to manage patient data.
  • The system scales with evolving business demands.
  • Data accuracy is supported by referential matching which overcomes traditional barriers created by a lack of data standards.
  • Increased productivity for data stewards means predictable TCO.

[1] Black Book Market Research, Mid-Year EHR Consumer Satisfaction Survey, 2018