Guest blog post: Data creators to data innovators
The strain on the healthcare system is often picked up in emergency care and there is a cost burden from avoidable admissions, which adds pressure to already under resourced and heavily utilised healthcare systems, resulting in a fragmented care delivery landscape across Europe. Furthermore, changing demographics indicate growth in ageing populations as well as chronic diseases in the region. Hence, there is an acute need for healthcare systems in Europe to move to an outcome based model, where patient care is proactive, integrated and co-ordinated.
Data aggregation and analysis key to population health management and integrated care
The national and European Union (EU) initiatives for establishment of healthcare information technology (HCIT) infrastructure are in the final stage of implementation and the adoption of key HCIT solutions such as electronic health records, health information systems and e-prescribing solutions is close to 80% across the region. A Frost & Sullivan survey1 on HCIT adoption trends in Europe indicates that in spite of high HCIT adoption levels, only between 15% and 20% of hospitals share data outside their organisations. This indicates a huge gap in the current healthcare ecosystem as population health management (PHM) requires a diverse set of solutions and services that analyse disparate patient data so as to highlight care improvement opportunities, manage delivery through co-ordination and engagement, benchmark performance, and mitigate financial risks. The time has come for healthcare IT to elevate from data collection and storage to data integration, sharing and analysis across solutions and care delivery mechanisms.
Chronic disease management programs and value-based reimbursement framework to drive population health management in Europe
OECD estimates indicate that on an average 34.1% of the population in EU-28 countries suffer from a long-standing illness or health problem and this is higher in EU-5 countries, especially in the elderly population over 64 years of age. There is increasing focus on chronic disease management programs for PHM and this is leading to integration of health, care and support services.
For instance, Germany leads the way in Europe with 9,966 disease management programs (DMP) for six chronic diseases and caters for 8% of insured population. Success of DMP in Germany can be attributed to the financial incentive, not only to the German statutory health insurance system (SHI), but also to the physician. Effective PHM requires buy in and commitment from all the key stakeholders including providers and payers, and it relies on an integrated care mechanism that is built on top of existing clinical, financial, and administrative HCIT systems and patient engagement platforms.
Driving effective population health management
Results from Frost & Sullivan survey1 on HCIT indicated that a third of the hospitals interviewed in Europe allocate 11%-20% of their overall annual budget to various HCIT solutions, with 70% confirming an average increase of 15-20% growth in the budget during the past two years. As basic HCIT infrastructure is almost established in the EU 5 countries, the increase in budget indicates a growth opportunity for solutions that augment basic infrastructure such as clinical decision support tools, applications for data sharing, integration, privacy and security, and healthcare business intelligence and big data analytics. This, coupled with EU and national initiatives on the establishment of data sharing and interoperability standards will be the key enabler for effective PHM in Europe in the future.
1. Frost and Sullivan conducted a survey in January 2017 to capture trends in the healthcare IT market in Europe. Survey included collecting responses from 330 hospitals across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, and Austria.