The healthcare industry is always on its feet to find better ways to improve patient care. The industry, in the last few decades, has made long strides in this direction and has used modern technology to advance modes of treatment and care of patients. One such considerable advancement is in the field of Patient-Generated Health Data (PGHD). The increase in consumer health technologies ranges from the development of apps for smartphones to the manufacturing of wearable devices that keep a track of essential health information of patients and people. The information generated by the patient using these devices is generally regarded as PGHD.
There was a time when human beings only used medicines acquired directly from nature, unprocessed. This period ended with the development of modern medicine that was processed with chemical compounds to provide immediate and accurate relief from health problems. These developments led to the creation of technologies that operated in clinical labs where patients could visit to get a diagnosis of their health problems. More recently, the development of PGHD has allowed patients the freedom to diagnose themselves and collect health-related data outside the clinical setting.
Aggregated patient health-related data can be used to improve patient care in multiple ways. A centralized information center will make it easier for healthcare providers to access all the information they need and take immediate decisions to improve patient’s health rather than waiting for test results of different things from different departments PGHD even eradicates the need of spending time on the basic information that a patient has to provide, like – Name, age, allergies, special health cases, heartbeat record of the last couple of hours, oxygen level records, etc. PGHD helps in multiple ways in understanding a patient’s health problem and it further improves the patient’s care. Here are 7 important ways how Patient-Generated Health Data can improve patient care:
1. Avoiding unnecessary treatments, tests, and costs to the patients
PGHD helps in identifying the major problems and symptoms and collects that data for a professional medical person to interpret. This preemptive measure helps in avoiding unnecessary tests that a hospital has to do as a routine duty to diagnose a patient. The data also helps the patient understand their health problem better and saves them from unnecessary suggested treatments that hospitals recommend to increase the billing.
2. It can help improve outcomes
Data generated by a patient from their previous medical cases and their treatments can assist the healthcare providers in making a health plan that would save the patient from future threats and sudden criticalities. This shared data will help the healthcare providers understand the patients outside the clinical setting and the changes in their progress from one visit to the next visit to any medical institution.
3. Maintaining continuity of patient care with shared data
A digital record of Patient-Generated Health data will help the patient in easily shifting their care providers. The digital record will act as shared data between the healthcare providers and it would assist them in understanding the patient without asking the patient all over again about their personalized treatment, test, diagnosis histories. It would maintain the continuity of care without letting the disrupt a patient’s health in a critical stage.
4. Keep track of patient; humanizing the patient
PGHD helps in keeping track of the patient’s health through a particular time period. This information can help medical professionals understand what all a patient was feeling at different moments and how it affected their physical health. Sometimes, medical professionals tend to dehumanize patients and treat them as objects that require their help. This approach can directly harm a patient’s health and harm the doctor-patient relationship disrupting the efficiency of treatments. PGHD will help in understanding a patient’s feelings and stop the doctor-patient relationship from being strained.
5. Patient satisfaction reports
Another major part of PGHD is collecting data about patient satisfaction. This much-needed data will assist the medical professionals in making changes in their care patterns for the patient. If a patient is reporting low satisfaction, the professionals can work on finding different ways to change that.
6. Adjusting the gaps in care work
Patient-generated data can help in understanding the shortcomings in the care work or in monitoring if the medical staff is working up to the level to provide proper care. If there is any shortcoming found in the data, it can easily be adjusted. This way PGHD will help the institution make better policies and improve patient care.
7. Working on patient preferences
Care work can prove to be a very delicate task sometimes. It is important to understand the patient’s preferences regarding their physical well-being. If a certain treatment or a way of treatment isn’t preferred by the patients it should be avoided as it can further deteriorate the patient's health, also making it a liability on the institution. PGHD helps in understanding patient preferences and making better-informed decisions towards patient care.
To reiterate the last point, care work in healthcare is a delicate task and it should happen with certain sophistication to see better results and improved health of a patient. The only way to do it is to take inputs that are generated by a patient outside the clinical setting, where a patient is more human and less patient. This approach helps in humanizing healthcare work and better physical well-being of patients.