January 7, 2020
Healthcare is changing and developing rapidly with each passing year. With the introduction of new technologies and innovations, the process of healthcare digitalization has provided better connectivity between different medical practitioners and institutions, thereby improving overall healthcare outcomes. Thanks to ever-evolving technology, patients are more aware of their health than ever and are often seeing sharing their data and health information through various health platforms.
Patients are capturing more and more healthcare data through patient diaries, monitoring devices, wearable devices, and health and fitness tracking diaries and apps. Experts believe that patient data can provide better measures of everyday behaviour. Researchers are determining whether these data and lifestyle information can fill the gaps in knowledge for better healthcare decision making. Pharmaceutical and healthcare industry experts believe that this explosion of data presents a unique opportunity for research and development (R&D) to improve clinical outcomes. Therefore, it won’t be wrong to say that the next generation of R&D will be more patient-centric.
Rising preference for personalized medicine, together with the economic demand for highly effective therapies at a reasonable cost, will require companies to create a new standard of development, where the patient is at the centre. An essential part of this will be patient feedback. New tools and informatics having the ability to mine and find correlations across various data types and different systems will enable the collection and analysis of genomic, safety, and clinical data. Moreover, data gathered from patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and other real-world data sources will help to provide real insights into the patient experience.
As mentioned earlier, patients today are more aware of their health and wellbeing than ever. As a result, they are more empowered and want to donate their data to research transparently, without losing control of their data. In a highly fragmented healthcare system, it often becomes difficult to access your medical records. Also, for disease-ridden patients, it becomes difficult to navigate through these records.
Having a complete view of all your health records, from blood tests to x-rays, enables you to be fully in charge of all of your data. This is a unique aspect of data sharing, as it motivates you to take charge of your health. If patients are empowered and motivated, they will be more open to ethical and transparent data sharing. Compiling your data also opens up possibilities to use them in research in new ways never before imagined. We’ll probably be losing out on potential life-changing improvements if these data are kept unused.
Today, many pharmaceutical companies and healthcare start-ups are coming up with data sharing platforms and initiatives, wherein patients can be incentivized for sharing their health records. The “Know Your Treatment” or KYT App is one such app, where you can share your health records to build your health database, and you will be incentivized for the same. If more such initiatives are encouraged, we can empower patients and use their data for R&D purposes. Since these data are coming directly from patients, without the constraints of a traditional clinical study, they can be more accurate, which can lead to enhanced clinical outcomes and better healthcare decisions.
New tools and technologies hold great promise to transform healthcare delivery soon, thus promising improved efficiency and value of patient care. With heaps of patient data becoming available along with the introduction of powerful digital analytical tools, researchers today are better equipped to enhance and manage the information flow, which can potentially enable doctors to speed up, improve their diagnostic capabilities, and minimize errors. Computer-assisted screening and detection methods have also shown value in helping researchers more quickly and accurately understand disease patterns, such as in the case of detection of breast cancer during mammography screening.
With the help of remote data-sharing platforms, such as wearable devices or health apps, continuous monitoring of patients is proving to be convenient. The perpetually evolving digital innovations are also helping in the domain of personalized medicine, offering significant promise in the treatment of numerous diseases, including many cancers. They are also proving beneficial in avoiding unnecessary referrals, thus reducing costs for patients. Moreover, technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and digital therapeutics (DTx) are speeding up diagnoses, helping researchers to focus on higher value-added tasks while reducing the burden of clinical documentation, thus improving patient outcomes and saving both time and money.
Digitized healthcare will have a powerful impact on care delivery and patient outcomes. Incredibly positive developments within the healthcare industry will become possible with the help of patient monitoring through digital innovation and advanced algorithms. It is not far from now when patients will embrace the upcoming digital innovations and come closer to their physicians, thus participating in their treatment-related diagnoses and decisions.