IOM: Data Analytics Lead to ‘Best Care at Lower Cost’

“Americans would be better served by a more nimble healthcare system that is consistently reliable and that constantly, systematically, and seamlessly improves.” That’s the premise of “Best Care at Lower Cost: The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America,” published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in September.

To develop the report, the IOM charged a committee with “charting a transition to a healthcare system that learns, in real time and with new tools, how to better manage problems.” Now is the time to take advantage of new technological and connectivity opportunities to make this possible, the report says. To make the change, it’s incumbent upon healthcare organizations, providers, and patients to collaborate.

At the heart of the matter is data. The report notes that “Data generated in healthcare delivery—whether clinical, delivery process, or financial—should be collected in digital formats, compiled, and protected as resources for managing care, capturing results, improving processes, strengthening public health, and generating knowledge.”

The report recommends that:

  • Government encourage the development of distributed data research networks and expanded access to health data resources
  • Payers and medical product companies contribute more data to research groups to generate new insights
  • Patients participate in developing robust data utility and use new tools, such as patient portals, to better manage their own care and be involved in reporting outcomes to help build new knowledge

The report urges healthcare organizations and providers to adopt tools that “deliver reliable clinical knowledge to patients.” Other success factors include the continued development and use of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines; greater educational support for the new methods of accessing, managing, and applying evidence; and increased funding for investigations into improving the usefulness and accessibility of patient outcome data and scientific evidence for clinicians and patients.

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