STANFORD, Calif. – Data and technology are transforming today’s health care system to one where patients are empowered to better manage their health at home, according to the 2017 Health Trends Report released recently by Stanford Medicine.
“Health care is becoming increasingly connected but also increasingly disrupted,” said Lloyd Minor, dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine. “The increased efficacy and ubiquity of online resources, the increased use of wearable devices and accessibility of testing, and the expansion of convenient, remote care are all having a major impact on the way that patients experience health care outside of the doctor’s office,” he said.
The Stanford report is the result of a comprehensive review and analysis of existing health care research and open-source data, combined with insights from Stanford faculty and other health care experts, on the current and emerging trends facing the health care sector.
The report found that data is driving the trends that are transforming health care, like rising costs, preventive care and a shift toward value-based payment models. But Minor said leveraging all of the data being collected, stored and analyzed will require training a data-literate clinical workforce and investments by health care organizations in infrastructure, analytical tools and data governance solutions.
“We can collect and store volumes of data, but we won’t be able to draw any relevant insights without both technical expertise and the proper tools,” he said.
Stanford’s report found that data is affecting health care in areas like ongoing care, as telemedicine and mobile health apps make it possible for physicians to see patients virtually for increased access and tailored care, and daily life, as wearable devices are helping to better inform and engage patients in their own health care.
“Health data holds significant promise to change patient behavior, but we need analysis coupled with data before we’re going to start getting the kind of information that will really change how people live their lives,” said Minor.