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Bridging the gap between population health and personalized care

We are on the precipice of a critical juncture in healthcare. Between the growing clinician shortage, an aging population, the prevalence of chronic conditions and a rise in costs, improving the health of populations seems a taller task than ever—especially during a global pandemic.

At the same time, patients are demanding consumer-centric, personalized experiences as they take more ownership of their health. While population health and personalized care appear to be at odds with each other, healthcare organizations can make gains with the right resources and strategies. To bridge these seemingly opposing aims, we need to look to the data.

Forming a complete picture of patients

Today, the amount of data a single healthcare organization can generate in a day would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. To propel medicine further, organizations should take advantage of technology advancements like cloud storage. Not only can the cloud enable organizations to store vast amounts of data, but it significantly reduces electronic health record (EHR) downtime. And real-time access to more data is beneficial to population health management and personalized care alike.

As healthcare organizations increase their capacity to store data, they can gather even more insights to inform care decisions. Consider current efforts to record data around social determinants of health. According to an American Hospital Association survey, 48% of US-based hospitals screen some patients for these factors and 29% screen all patients. Additionally, of those who screen for social determinants, one-third do not document the results in the EHR. Capturing this information is vital if providers are to take all factors into consideration when treating an individual.

Bringing additional insights to the point of care

In addition to documenting more information during visits, healthcare organizations can gain a better understanding of their patients and patient populations by collecting data from consumers’ everyday devices. From wearable glucometers to fitness trackers, troves of biometrics are generated each day that could be incorporated into the EHR.

Ingesting more insights from patients’ everyday lives—rather than a few visits and tests a year—gives providers larger datasets to work with for artificial intelligence (AI) applications. For example, providers can leverage AI to determine which patients may be hypertensive based on trends in blood pressure data collected via their smartwatches (as well as other data in the EHR). More generally, AI can bolster organizations’ population health efforts in a scalable manner by surfacing where their time and resources would make the most impact, whether it be pre-diabetes prevention or maternal health.

While the pace of healthcare’s transformation may seem daunting, it is also incredibly exciting. With the right cloud solutions and technology partners, healthcare organizations can manageably harness rich data for the betterment of individual patients all the way to entire populations.

Learn how the Sunrise™ EHR evolution to a cloud-based platform of health can bring your organization to the forefront of innovation here.

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