Healthcare should not become completely data-driven nor rely solely on decision automation because there is a human component that must be addressed. Besides some necessary operational alerts and such, there are nuances involved in a primary care relationship that simply cannot be captured by a machine. The provider is in front of the patient, and they know the patient, so naturally they should have final say about the patient’s diagnoses. But in tandem with provider knowledge, data-enablement empowers providers to provide care based on the patient’s information and that of a cornucopia of other patients with the same background and symptoms. In this scenario, the physician would receive something on their screen like this:
Patient Name: Bob Smith
Based on Mr. Smith’s symptoms and backgrounds, the following are diagnosis probabilities:
- Disease 1 – 60% due to x, y, z
- Disease 2 – 15% due to a, b, c
- Disease 3 – 15% due to d, e, f
Please select one to view recommended treatment protocols.
The physician may already have ruled out Disease 1 as a case of the problem so it might be Disease 2 or 3. In this case if the physician had gone with data automation (Disease 1), the diagnoses would have been incorrect and could have harmed the patient. The physician has to have the final say in how a patient is treated with the system providing support and alternative solutions.
A data-enabled organization delivers providers information and suggestions on how to better manage its population health portfolio or community to produce an improved, more consistent quality of care. In even more basic terms, it’s the difference between being a non-analytics focused organization and being an analytics focused organization (AFO).
Data-enablement is currently an industry-wide transition that is quite different from most technology transitions. The majority of shifts usually only impact an individual organization, or one at a time, so the present situation is quite monumental. As each AFO contributes to the data pool, the decision support becomes more effective than when that data is based on information from only one or a few organizations. One complication we currently face is the various stages different organizations are at in their AFO transition. The sooner all healthcare organizations can reach a similar point, the more beneficial and actionable all of this information will be.
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