How one day can build a patient-centric system

Huge disparities in the delivery of patient care still exist. To make the needed improvements, the role of analytics must be nurtured. Within the walls of care, the 'system' is focusing on getting the data to enable care enhancement, but once a patient is discharged the focus is on population outcomes studies.

The morning executive panel discussion (“Patient Centric and Personalized Medicine – The Focus of Dedicated Professionals”) at the SAS Health & Life Sciences Executive Conference was a vivid testimony of how passionate medical professionals can be when focused on a unified front. Patient care and opportunities to leverage data to make a significant impact in care quality and outcomes brought executives from the payer, life sciences and provider sectors together in recognizing the challenges and value each are only beginning to address.

Hardly a day passes without an article in the myriad of professional healthcare journals addressing patient-centric care delivery models and personalized medicine. Michael Dulin, CMO Carolina’s Healthcare System, Charles Hugh-Jones, CMO Sanofi, and Mark Pitts, Director of Data Science, UnitedHealthcare, provided their individual take on the opportunities and projects their organizations are diving into.

Even among the panelists, definitions for patient-centric care varied widely. I take this as a positive sign of the frequency of discussion and focus. For now, patient-centric care includes things like being responsive to the patient’s needs and values, ensuring respect and dignity of choice and classifying patient profiles into subpopulations to drive effective preventative interventions.

At the foundation of each panelist’s comments lay the criticality of the Triple Aim = Improving Health, Improving Care, while Lowering Costs. Clearly the audience and the panelists had come to recognize that without better engaging the patient, the triple aim is too close to being a triple “fail”.

Difficult to fully realize

Dulin’s team is realizing the importance of shifting from a physician-centered system to one that is patient-centered: each day brings a new set of challenges for this behavioral shift. Still, Carolina’s Healthcare System is dedicated to fostering an equal partnership between the patient and physician and helping physicians become coaches who are focused on building truly collaborative treatment plans.

Sanofi is focusing on support of more holistic aspects of healthcare, according to Hugh-Jones. With the cancer survivor community as an example, Hugh-Jones is focused on building trust by increasing the time spent with patients. Across a diverse portfolio, including oncology, diabetes and rare diseases, the Sanofi central theme is commitment to patient-centeredness. Admittedly, moving to this behavior is a struggle. Success has been particularly evident within the diabetes group and the long-term relationship built on patient interactions. Elsewhere, Sanofi is employing this behavior shift by engaging the patient in design of protocols and commercialization aspects.

Mark Pitts has taken UnitedHealthcare into the data science arena to make data usable for improving health. UHC is aggressively using predictive analytics to leverage unstructured data to score interactions with members to ensure their care levels are optimized. Pitts focuses on being the best “steward” of data resources to continuously push innovation to impact the Triple Aim.

When the world is your oyster ...

The banter of ideas that flew across the stage made this session resonate with every sector within the audience. Moderator Graham Hughes, SAS Chief Medical Officer, “egged them on” to think and react creatively. Concepts, themes and quotes that struck me as dead-on and innovative included:

  • “It’s time to leverage all the data captured to push the progress further. Consumer engagement analytic methodologies have a place in both patient and physician engagement.”
  • “Outcomes are embodied in lifestyle changes….you cannot achieve either without better collaborations with the patient.”
  • “Big data isn’t close to where it will be---we must prepare now without losing sight of getting insight today.”
  • Let’s not forget the opportunities to leverage social data, environmental factor data, poverty level statistics, housing density and other resources to enhance predictive capacities to address intervention programs.
  • 85 percent of data is unstructured and left untouched – we can’t afford to turn a blind eye when technology with unstructured data exists today.
  • Without jeopardizing privacy, we must continue exploring ways to share data to impact healthcare overall.
  • Patients assume their data is used in clinical trials to support health advancements. It is time to use it to impact fuller applications for improvement.
  • Crowdsource solutions to jumpstart advancements.
  • We need to relearn the art of collaboration!
  • Health Exchanges contribute toward more innovative collaborations…..time will tell.
  • “Shared decision making” is not something to be feared!

With the energy this panel displayed in just the one-hour time slot, what impact would working together - say one day a week - make in achieving the Triple Aim? Each day with each provider for each patient?!?

Just a thought.

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    Welcome to the SAS Health and Life Sciences blog. We explore how the health care ecosystem – providers, payers, pharmaceutical firms, regulators and consumers – can collaboratively use information and analytics to transform health quality, cost and outcomes.
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