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Genuine use of patient information can speed up and enhance care

There is a lot of data, but it is in many different places. Gaining an overall picture of the patient’s condition is difficult. Time passes while the patient sits and waits. Sound familiar?

Anu Mahlamäki / August 16, 2019

The physician stares at his screen and browses through previously saved patient information. There is a lot of data, but it is in many different places. Gaining an overall picture of the patient’s condition is difficult. Time passes while the patient sits and waits. Sound familiar?

The future of social and healthcare information and systems is open, adaptable and user-friendly. When a physician saves patient information in a system based on the open data model (openEHR), the information can be utilised in many ways, for example for medical statements, referrals and monitoring treatment. It also reduces the need for repeated entries and makes it faster to search for and compare patient information over long periods.

Overall condition at a glance

A structured data model ensures that patient information can be utilised flexibly and that the data is linked to each other. When a patient visits a physician, the physician can see immediately at a glance the patient’s overall condition and the steps leading up to the current situation. The physician can also use different screen views to study the patient’s condition or disease in more detail and to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. All the data can be combined into tables, graphs or text boxes.

The different screen views can be defined and constructed flexibly for each patient, organisation or type of specialised treatment. Systematic and well-structured data benefits both individual patient visits and the long-term planning of care and services.

A precondition for the safe and effective use of data and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment is that the patient information is stored according to a standardised data model. This information can be accessed in other open platforms without additional standardisation work. The patient’s data security is naturally ensured, as users can only access data that they are authorised to use according to their individual roles.

Solutions for everyday tasks

Open data model systems are not just about technological solutions, but also about supporting and facilitating workflows. Solutions are developed in close cooperation with customers and by understanding their everyday tasks. In terms of efficient workflows, it is important to develop a system from the start that offers a balance between how the clinician stores data and how that data can be utilised.

It is also important to consider what types of data are wanted in a structured format. What data can help the physician understand the general condition of the patient and monitor the effectiveness of care? What types of data can be reused, and how can decision-making and the planning of treatment best be supported?

It is not practical to record all data structurally. It should still be possible to record information in text format. It is also important that the system is easy for clinicians to use and that it can be modified as needed. A physician’s work is often very unpredictable. A patient’s situation can change during a single visit, requiring a different approach from the physician.

Our job is to serve as an enabler by offering an environment in which new data models, entry platforms and summary views can be defined rapidly in the system without any need for coding. The optimal tools for doing so are agreed in close cooperation with the customer, and clinicians play the main role in this work – not the IT supplier.

Putting enormous amounts of data to good use

The amount of data processed for social and healthcare is growing rapidly, and the use of the data has to be developed in order utilise effectively all the data that is accumulated. 

From an organisation’s perspective, storing new types of data offers the chance to monitor the overall health of the population and, for example, to determine where more healthcare services are required and what are the care targets. Monitoring the data also provides useful decision-making tools.

In open data models, the investments made by the system supplier and healthcare organisations are not tied to a single supplier or system. An international, standardised, open data model opens new doors for the development of healthcare systems in Finland and the Nordics. The decision taken already a couple of years ago will be concretised this autumn with the launch of our first openEHR-based solutions for our customers.

 

Anu Mahlamäki
Medical Advisor

Author

Anu Mahlamäki

Medical Advisor

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