Today, technology enables tracking of wellness data that can be shared with a provider via the internet or a patient portal that feeds an electronic health record (EHR). At home, monitoring equipment can keep a digital record of results that can be sent wirelessly to the provider or an intermediary data-holder without the patient ever interacting with it.
PGHD provided by patients and caregivers complements clinical data to offer a comprehensive view of an individual’s health. PGHD can improve the accuracy of data stored in an EHRas demonstrated in Geisinger Health System initiative that allows patients to provide electronic feedback on their medication lists' accuracy before a doctor’s visit. Simultaneously, that feedback option empowers patients and their caregivers to be active partners in their health and healthcare. When patients share their health goals (Figure 2) with the clinical team, they provide information that helps put their needs into context.
Patients also use technologies, such as personal health records, portals and mobile applications to aggregate and disseminate data. This is particularly valuable when a patient sees multiple providers at different health systems that use EHRs from different vendors. As an example, Figure 3 describes the different perspectives and priorities for providers and breast cancer patients.
PGHD has been proven to reduce readmission rates, hospitalization days, and lower cost. The Care Beyond Walls & Wires pilot project through the Northern Arizona Healthcare system investigated new care delivery models that utilized mobile technologies. Through the use of mobile devices and the application of secure texting they were able to:
- Decrease readmissions by 44%;
- Decrease in average number of days hospitalized by 64%; and
- Decreased average total charges by 72%.
Patients are now using self-monitoring devices and tools to improve their health, which is a welcome sign for providers – especially those participating in accountable care organizations. However, patients are willing to share the results with providers only if they trust that this information will: be private and secure, improve their care and lower the cost of their care. As providers accept more financial risk, self-monitoring devices can help keep the patient: living healthier, and longer, while also, preventing or delaying an acute episode of care.