In medicine, decisions have a clear goal: the good of the patient. These decisions are shaped by professional standards, expert knowledge, wishes of the patient, and therapeutic possibilities. In today’s digitalized healthcare environment, achieving this goal increasingly depends on the smart use of medical data. The continuously growing, multidimensional health data from electronic medical records, image databases, and other multi-layered, trazodone and fluoxetine often fragmented IT systems is becoming more and more important for making up-to-date, patient-oriented decisions and designing care processes accordingly.
Of course, not all medical decisions are necessarily difficult. There are uncomplicated healthcare situations in which professional medical knowledge is sufficient to find an expedient solution. Decisions are then straightforward. However, decision-making becomes more complex as the number of diagnoses and treatment options increase, and as the amount of relevant patient data and a risk of possible complications grows.The challenge in this case is to integrate a wide range of data –from a variety of sources, such as clinical, radiological, or laboratory information, genetic and pathological findings, and insights into behavioral and social conditions –in such a way that the decision meets highest possible quality standards and takes into consideration the personal situation and preferences of the patient. Medical decisions occur along the continuum of care, from initial clinical contact to followup. For healthcare providers, the questions they need to address are:
- What needs to be done diagnostically and therapeutically? • How can I use my resources in the process efficiently?
- And with whom should I share information and coordinate to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient?
Digital technologies can potentially improve decision-making in all these dimensions and provide valuable decision support along the patient pathway. Complex decisions may fail for various reasons: Patient data might simply not be accessible or too extensive and unstructured, information might be overlooked, or guidelines might not be sufficiently executed. These challenges can be solved with a scalable and flexible digital platform that has the ability to gather patient data from various sources: IT systems and institutions can provide care takers easy access to patient data across all touchpoints of this patient’s journey, ultimately providing a more comprehensive picture of the patient and supporting holistic decision-making in medicine enriched by smart data integration.
To achieve this goal, today’s IT architectures must be able to grow with changing needs and constantly evolve. Siemens Healthineers understands that a digital health platform needs to be a flexible tool that leverages the increasing importance of data for healthcare. Furthermore, an integrated marketplace provides one-stop access to a growing number of proprietary, as well as curated and pre-vetted, partner applications, enabling advanced and customized digitalization for a wide range of healthcare providers and care situations. Digitalization is certainly not only not only a matter of technology but also conception. If medicine wants to harness the increasing abundance and complexity of health data –and this is precisely what is emerging –a threefold paradigm change is necessary:
- First, healthcare providers need a digital infrastructure that is as simple as possible, yet versatile and adaptable, ideally as a system-wide platform for networking data.
- Second, a steadily growing number of intelligent applications are needed that are able to meaningfully prepare networked data for specific operational and clinical questions.
- Third, digitalization is also changing the very nature of medical decision-making itself. Medical decisions will continue to be the responsibility of doctors – and patients. Nevertheless, the individual human actors in the care process will increasingly have to make use of advanced digital decision support to bring the wealth of data into their deliberations and use it in a profitable way.
We believe that medicine in the future cannot do without data science perspective. Flexibility will prove to be the greatest asset in a digital world and a flexible platform capable of integrating more and more data will be key to increase the quality of decision-making.
Learn more on smart data integration and decision support.
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