Joseph Kvedar: Physicians must embrace patient-generated data

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It took 20 years for the stethoscope to be widely accepted in clinical practice, but the industry doesn't have that time to waste before embracing patient-generated data, Joseph Kvedar, M.D., writes at MedCity News.

Home monitoring and similar services have shown to be useful in improving outcomes, reducing mortality and engaging patients in programs to control hypertension and diabetes. Yet physicians resist efforts to make use of patient-generated data, and are more willing to base care on information like blood pressure readings conducted a couple times a year, says Kvedar, vice president of Connected Health at Boston-based Partners HealthCare.

Physicians' complaints, he says, include:

  • They'll be buried in reams of normal readings. However, other industries have developed software for culling meaningful insights from an overabundance of data, Kvedar notes.
  • It's complex and costly to collect such data. Kvedar refutes that thinking, saying technology is making data collection easier and less costly.
  • They don't know what to do with the results, an argument he says is disappointing. 

Resistance to change seems to be the most common sticking point, he adds, though change is coming from all sides on reimbursement, virtual visits and other areas.

When Duke Medicine wanted to integrate patient-generated health data into the electronic health record using Apple's HealthKit, it found the biggest hurdle was not the technology, but rather the workflow.

Healthcare data increasingly is coming in from myriad sources, including wearables, apps, social media, online portals and more, and according to a recent Nature article, scientists need to work out why, when and how to combine diverse data that might not all be equally useful.

To learn more:
- read the article

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