Can fragmented healthcare silos be replaced with a single view of the patient?

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Marketers have long sought a single view of the customer. In healthcare's notoriously fragmented ecosystem of GPs, specialists, allied health, public and private hospitals the problem is even more acute.

In both cases, there is a genuine question about whether the end goal is technically, or even legally achievable, or whether it is more akin to the pursuit of happiness  a process rather than a destination.

Cloud platform MediRecords is one of the businesses attempting to help solve the problem, and Digital Nation spoke to Michelle O’Brien, head of the strategy for our minidocumentary on the digital transformation of the sector. 

“The problem that we're trying to solve is to deliver a platform that all providers in the health ecosystem can access so that they have that single view of a patient's record,” she says.

O'Brien says that this delivers huge benefits for both patients and providers with the best example being in aged care.

“There's some big challenges in aged care at the moment where a patient can end up separated from their GP because they've moved into a facility, and they might end up in an emergency department,” she says.

“So all of these different clinicians need to know that patient might have chronic disease might be on multiple medications, and that view of the record makes it much safer for the clinician who's treating them in an urgent situation, it makes it much safer for the patient, because they know that the clinician knows their clinical history.”

Funding

When it comes to the biggest impediments facing the healthcare sector in digitally transforming, O’Brien believes that the main issue lies in the funding models.

“Traditionally, in Australia, the problem's been that we've had a lot of systems that have grown up in silos because of the way that the health system is funded,” says O’Brien.

She believes that these models have not aligned themselves with what technology can currently deliver and that many medical bodies have no incentive to share data with one another.

O’Brien also says that Australia has a long way to go in order to catch up to the rest of the world’s health technology transformation.

“My vision would be to have almost a roundtable with governments. I think one of the biggest things is that they don’t understand the problems, because the technology is changing so quickly,” says O’Brien.

“In Australia, we don't have that model of care yet for prescribing apps, so it means that doctors won't use them, specialists won't use them.”

She cites Germany as leading the way when it comes to digital therapeutics.

“We would love to see the government endorse a clear pathway to market for these solutions because it can actually reduce the amount of medications people are on if these interventions are given digitally rather than through medications.”

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