With sales of wearable technology devices expected to exceed 245 million in 2019, practices may be curious about how they can use patient information to improve outcomes.
Wearable technology refers to the collective technology worn on or around the body. Examples include Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, Fitbit, and smart glasses such as Google Glass. More invasive technology includes implantable microchips and “smart” tattoos.
“Tracking physical activity using a wearable device could potentially be used for monitoring symptoms and severity in those who may not be able to self-report symptoms because of various barriers such as literacy or severity of illness.”
The American Society for Clinical Oncology
Patient-generated health data (PGHD) allows clinicians to monitor data and implement new ways to observe a patient’s overall health. The future of healthcare may depend on an EHR-integrated system to track PGHD.
What’s happening now?
As the use of wearables grows, more hospitals and clinics are embracing the benefits of PGHD.
“Data from outside the healthcare system is becoming increasingly important with the emergence of new wearable technologies and web platforms that give patients more control over their own data,” said Shivaji Sarkar, chief systems architect for Greenway Health, who noted the long-term role of these technologies has yet to be established.
In June 2018, Apple made healthcare records application programming interface (API) available to certain developers, allowing them to take PGHD and define what’s important to measure. This patient data can be encrypted with a fingerprint/passcode to give patients peace of mind in knowing their information isn’t getting into the wrong hands. Once permission is given to access the data, it flows directly to the third-party application while remaining hidden and unused by Apple servers.
What’s being tracked and how can it be used?
With application filters to verify which information is necessary for providers, wearables can track metrics such as medication intake and illnesses. They also can assist with nutritional planning and medical research.
Users will be able to input a list of prescribed medicine and set reminders. Information such as a list of reactions or prior drug use will also be available to providers, who can alert patients about potentially harmful combinations of prescription medications. Providers also will be able to counsel patients about certain health risks regarding dieting and exercise.
New PGHD will enable clinicians to integrate patient medical data into an EHR. With access to extensive patient data, medical researchers will be able to conduct more comprehensive studies.
“Now is an opportune time to ensure the architecture of the EHR is sufficient for big data research that effectively integrates at the point of care,” Shivaji said.
How can PGHD be used to increase overall health outcomes?
Thanks to wearables for PGHD, a provider can detect a decrease in physical activity. If the patient’s symptoms worsen, the provider has the data to develop a supplemental plan for a patient’s physical and nutritional health.
As new technology emerges, patient privacy remains a top priority. Enlisting the right partner to manage data is critical to positive patient outcomes.
For more information, CLICK HERE to schedule a conversation with a Greenway representative. Or watch our 3-minute overview video HERE.