Despite its sizeable cost, the U.S. healthcare system has been ranking among the least effective in the modern global economy for many years. The industry wastes an estimated $1 trillion each year, with billions spent on unnecessary services, excessive administrative costs and fraud.
In a digital, data-driven world where efficiencies are gained with new technologies across all manners of industry, healthcare has been slow to gain advantages from technological advancements. Similar to other industries that have embraced digital transformation and redefined their model at scale, it is clear that targeted use of technology could help reduce the waste inherent to the U.S. healthcare system and create greater value for patients and the government in better allocating each dollar spent towards qualitative, long-term positive outcomes. Roughly $2 billion is invested annually into new initiatives in scheduling, medication tracking, chronic disease monitoring and other fields. Far less, however, is spent ensuring that these new initiatives can scale and survive past their initial two to three years of operation, addressing a crucial infrastructure challenge: access to and distribution of standardized, executable, scalable health data.
A leader in the healthcare space, Ciox, is driving innovation in the industry with technologies to solve that data access issue. Imagine, for context, the complexity today in serving medical records: There are approximately 250,000 hospitals using some form of electronic medical records (EMRs). While the ten largest EMRs own somewhere between 60-80 percent market share, the remaining 20-40 percent of all EMRs can be divided among the literally hundreds of smaller EMR vendors. Some hospitals have more than one EMR in place, and even for those hospitals and providers using the same EMRs, there are no assurances that the same versions are in use. The net outcome is that there are dozens of standards to deal with – HL7v2/3, DICOM, FHIR, LOINC, proprietary, and the like. Most EMRs, of course, only offer download of records as a printout, and there’s variability whether they offer a summary or details of these records.
When we consider all of these compounding issues, retrieving, digitizing and delivering medical records becomes a very complex, manually intensive, lengthy process. To help the workforce serve patients faster and at the right cost, Ciox is deploying a wide array of technologies like robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain to help put a significant dent in that $1 trillion waste figure.
Using these kinds of technologies in concert, Ciox builds an augmented workforce to solve the last mile of medical record interoperability. The systems are not perfect, and they still need to be trained, managed and overseen by real people, but with these technologies we are heading into a far more efficient era.
Using RPA and AI, Ciox increases the speed and quality at which medical records are retrieved, digitized, standardized, and made available. From better standardization of data sets to the automatic extraction of digital data from paper record sources, the tools are in place today to solve how medical and health related data are used across the healthcare industry. While RPA automates repetitive and systematic tasks, AI and Machine Learning support Ciox’s workforce in dealing with ambiguity of data, streamlining the retrieval process, and learning from each transaction.
Leveraging these technologies for faster and more qualitative information exchange leads to numerous improvements in the care ecosystem: arming doctors with timely and relevant information about each and every patient they see; increasing claims accuracy and accelerating providers’ payments; empowering research organizations with precise cohort enrollment and research grade data sets; correlating epidemics across a population to accelerate the preparedness of field teams; or even simply equipping pharmacists with a counter-interactions warning identification, avoiding tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths per year.
The healthcare industry is under pressure to find a way to share information, uncover patterns that lead to better patient outcomes, and discover new models for care that can work for everyone in a more secure and cost-effective way. Blockchain applied to healthcare is poised to provide a transformative shift to alleviate these pressures. At its core, a patient-centric healthcare system using blockchain would create transparency throughout the exchange of information, making episodic information—everything from diagnoses and surgeries, to prescribed drugs and claim history— available to all under control of the patient, continuously linking and augmenting recorded information to generate patient-specific insights, the patient longitudinal view. Now imagine AI crawling those universal, uniform records in search of trends and insights. The possibilities are essentially endless.
As we all know, there’s an estimated $1 trillion of waste in the healthcare system, yet a significant portion of it can be aggressively tackled by solving one key issue: access to health data, and more specifically, the automation of medical records extraction and digitization to executable information. It’s how we broker the U.S. healthcare system into the world of advanced data practices, and how we can drive actionable insights across the entirety of healthcare with far less waste, improved patient care and better medical outcomes as byproduct.
Attributed by: Florian Quarré, Ciox Chief Digital Officer