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BY Leo Hynett

Healthcare

The Importance Of Real-Time Healthcare Data

Putting an end to old siloed ways of working and creating a more connected future for healthcare.

OCTOBER 11  2021

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Thankfully, the days of paper folders in our doctor’s surgery or hospital are behind us. Despite that, many health services still operate on older systems that mean it is not always easy to access the most up to date information about a patient. It can sometimes still take weeks for medical records to move from one GP surgery to another, or for notes to travel between specialties. These delays have real tangible impacts, and it is vital that the health and care ecosystem takes steps to minimise them.

One of the ways to eliminate these delays is to implement a real-time data system such as the Patient Flow Management tool (PFM) created by Cambio. Real-time healthcare data massively benefits clinical staff and patients alike. It provides clinical staff with accessible information that is consistent across the care ecosystem, enabling smoother care and improving patient flow.

 

A single version of the truth

Currently, different services in the same sector may work to different referral needs, different referral mechanisms, and different assessment mechanisms. This means that a patient may meet referral needs in one hospital but be denied that same referral elsewhere.

Working with Cambio, ​​Dr Jason Fee implemented a system within the South West Provider Collaborative that would change this uneven system. Their goal was to create one single version of the truth across the South West that could be accessed from anywhere. This system enabled easy transfer of patients and their data between organisations and specialties within the collaborative, which meant patients could be transferred to services closer to home. Treating patients in local hospitals has vast benefits for patient wellbeing as it means they are in a familiar area and only a small distance from their loved ones. So, Cambio’s system has not only improved efficiency, it has improved patient wellbeing too.

Before Dr Fee implemented Cambio’s system, ‘different services all worked to different referral needs, different referral mechanisms, and different assessment mechanisms,’ meaning that ‘there was no one true version of the truth across the entire South West.’ His team saw the need for a single point of entry that enabled providers to make standardised decisions on who should be referred to their forensic mental health services. Cambio became that single point of access and also went on to become the single point of access for referral and assessment.

Utilising real-time data systems like Cambio across a territory would present a single version of the truth, streamlining care and enabling never before seen clarity on the state of patient health.

Cambio’s benefits go beyond organising individual specialties, it also enables smoother collaboration between providers and teams. Cross organisational data sharing is a huge challenge faced by many due to the practical constraints of moving data between organisations; thankfully, systems such as Cambio’s PFM can be used across organisational boundaries, eliminating silos and connecting previously disparate data sets. Quality of care can be put at risk when patients are transferred from one organisation to another, and real-time data sharing is at the heart of eliminating this risk.

 

Rising demand for real-time healthcare data

Real-time data has huge benefits for everyone within a hospital environment, from those making decisions on advisory boards to those making split-second decisions in emergency rooms.

Cambio’s comprehensive and unified overview makes it easier to track how well services are performing. If hospitals are operating on different systems with different methods of performance tracking it is incredibly difficult to find points of comparison in these disparate data points. Comprehensive oversight of how hospitals are performing enables the efficient allocation of resources, ensuring that spend meets patient demand.

Real-time data systems have the potential to improve safety as well as efficiency. Having immediate access to up-to-date patient information ensures the correct care is given, improving clinical outcomes and keeping patients safe. Put simply, real-time data allows for effective and informed decision making. Without these systems, providers risk making choices that have direct impacts on people’s lives based on outdated information. For example, out of date patient notes may not correctly list all the medication a patient is currently taking/what has been administered during a hospital stay, or staff may not be made aware of an underlying condition. Without this information, providers could make potentially very serious errors.

For patients, the use of real-time data systems such as Cambio makes care journeys as short as possible by removing unnecessary hurdles. With one version of the truth available across the sector, patients will be able to receive seamless care wherever they may be and whatever service they’re accessing.

For some members of NHS staff who are less confident with digital solutions, the idea of the transition away from the older methods is daunting. Luckily, this is something the developers of Cambio understand; the prime consideration in their development process was simplicity and ease of use. It doesn’t matter how clever a data science platform is if it is too complex for a clinician to use – the true benefit comes from intelligent systems that any clinician can pick up and run with.

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