The key to unlocking the value of the digital revolution

Graeme Harvey, digital product marketing manager at Roche Diabetes Care, explains how clinical teams navigate myriad […]

Graeme Harvey, digital product marketing manager at Roche Diabetes Care, explains how clinical teams navigate myriad challenges amidst providing more remote care, new digital platforms offer opportunities to help improve patient outcome.

While COVID-19 created an acute need for technology in everyday healthcare, the digital revolution in healthcare was already well underway and is now here to stay. A recent survey of patients by revealed 83% would continue to use telehealth even after the pandemic resolves. There is also no doubt that innovative digital solutions offer a high-tech, lower-cost model for modernising systems and improving care. More efficiency, easier access for patients and better outcomes are only some of the benefits.

Mastering the myriad opportunities of health technology has its challenges. At the core of digital solutions is the ability to collect data that creates a vital source of knowledge for healthcare professionals, health workers, office and hospital staff and scientists. Capturing the data is only the first step, as the volume can be overwhelming. The 2020 Health Trends Report: The Rise of the Data-Driven Physician from Stanford Medicine predicted the healthcare sector would generate an estimated 2,314 exabytes of data – the storage equivalent of about 9 billion personal laptops by 2020.

Data harmonisation and structure are keys to getting the most from data-driven approaches. These will ensure the ability to analyse and share data so it can inform and deliver the connectivity, workflow efficiency and predictive insights for clinical decisions. Harmonisation and structure will also lay the groundwork for next-generation solutions.

Data harmonisation

Patient data come from myriad places including EHRs, claims laboratories and public health databases. Add to that information collected from cases, testing, vaccines and hospital admissions as well as the various devices and tools used by patients in self-management. Harmonisation transforms this data into one cohesive, standardised actionable dataset.

People with diabetes, for example, utilise a number of devices and tools in their daily lives, from blood glucose monitors and apps for diet and coaching such as mySugr, to fitness trackers like Fitbits. Information from these sources can reveal blood sugar patterns and quickly identify where patients are struggling.

Harmonisation tracks and stores these data, aligns it with clinical information, and then rolls it up together for a complete, longitudinal record of a patient’s experience. This can be used for evaluating and optimising in real-time the care delivered as well as the process by which it is delivered, whether in-person or virtual. For large diabetes centres, data harmonisation offers an improved ability to triage patient concerns and better resource management.

As an example of this in 2018, the PDM-ProValue study was conducted to assess the impact of implementing the Integrated Personalised Diabetes Management (iPDM) process, an iterative six-step program that incorporates collaborative decision-making process between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and patients using digital tools for analysis and visualisation of blood glucose information, in daily practice on glycaemic control and therapy decisions.

The study found that the more holistic and supportive use of data sources facilitated in the iPDM process may have resulted in better-informed therapy decisions.

Physicians perceived the process as more structured and customisable, facilitating even more personalisation of therapy, and potentially enhancing clinician-patient interactions.

The collaborative process improved clinical outcomes associated with significant and clinically relevant HbA1c reductions in patients. According to physicians, the process enabled timely therapy action, which may have resulted in early improvements in glycaemic control.

Harmonisation will also provide the objective evidence that will drive progress. Harmonised data can reveal the clinical and health economic support for what proves valuable and additive today and expose what has not been proven useful. Innovators of the next-generation digital solutions will see the issues not yet addressed and develop the resources that yield answers.

Structural framework

Technology platforms are the backbone of digital health ecosystems, they provide the structural framework for the data that powers interconnectivity among provider systems, clinicians, payers, and patients. To succeed today, digital systems must address the growing needs of remote patient therapy: more patient choice, more communication for satisfying and effective consults and clinical insights that can better individualise therapy. Our Roche Diabetes Care Platform, recently introduced in the US, is designed to do just that.

Meeting these needs while ensuring patient data privacy is a priority. Similar protections must apply for storing data over time. Security is critical to sustainability – short and long-term – and is a key issue to consider with digital health partners. At Roche, we strongly believe digital healthcare and its ability to continue to be leveraged by healthcare systems and trusted by patients, is predicated on the partnership between institutions and industry to ensure data is protected.

To succeed tomorrow, new platforms must have the business, data and IT architecture to keep improving. Combining patient data from different sources will enable clinicians to deliver the right solution to their patients at the right time. This is extremely important with insulin delivery for patients with diabetes.

Health Informatics

At Roche Diabetes Care, we are actively preparing for a future in which integration of digital technologies and solutions will lead to dramatically improved workflow and patient outcomes. Our next frontier is health informatics, a rapidly developing scientific field that uses information technology to organise and analyse health records to foster improved collaboration among the various healthcare providers. Health informatics will help us continue to build and evolve an open ecosystem that will contextualise relevant data points and enable deeper insights for personalised patient care.

Readiness for the digital transformation

Transformation is most positive when the market can embrace it. The digital healthcare revolution is no different. Healthcare professionals and systems teams need to feel confident in their readiness. The Stanford Medicine Report of current and future physicians revealed gaps, particularly in readiness for some of the most critical new health care developments such as telemedicine, personalised medicine, and genetic screening. Only 18% of current medical students and residents surveyed said that their education was “very helpful,” while 44% of physicians surveyed said that their education was either “not very helpful” or “not helpful at all.

Partnership among clinicians, health systems, universities and industry will help modernise the appropriate curriculum and training programs so that current and future physicians can effectively use and make the most of new technologies.


The original article can be found at: Med-Tech Innovation News