Whether it’s displayed on the multitude of apps we use, or sitting stored on a database, data is all around us. Pharma Associate Director, Paul Hutchings wonders how we can ensure it’s put to good use.
Your alarm’s gone off, and you’ve checked emails, Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile your iPhone tracked how many steps you took yesterday and how you slept overnight – all before you’ve left the house.
Our interconnected devices continually gather, store, interpret and display our data to us. In only a few short years, data has leapt off the pages of dry spreadsheets to become a fashionable consumer commodity.
And the healthcare sphere has made great progress in using the outputs from ‘generation data’; whether it’s motivation for more exercise or less sugar, interpreted data is becoming an indispensable tool.
Tracking apps like Apple Health, Change4Life or Sugar Smart all compare our personal health data to previous sessions or months, and even to data submitted by others.
The big question now is whether, and how, this data can support health on a larger societal scale. Let’s take product misuse – when a patient doesn’t use a medical product or device as intended – as an example.
A recent study truly highlighted the impact data can have in this domain. A specialist stoma nurse reviewed the dispensing data for products and accessories delivered to her patients in Manchester via a dispensing appliance contractor (DAC).
She found that 22 of her 50 patients were showing patterns associated with over-ordering. But by organising a review with one of the patients who was showing over-ordering patterns, the nurse could intervene, identify a cause of misuse, and show her patient how to use their product correctly.
This single resolved case saved the NHS £2,880 per year, while improving the patient’s care at the same time. If this saving were applied to the entire range of products (cleaning products, adhesive removers, pastes etc) and the 120,000 ostomates in the UK, and the NHS could have millions to use elsewhere.
There is so much possibility in the use of this kind of data. Whether it’s improved apps that speak directly to healthcare professional, or ever more creative ways to present data to add true value to clinical decision-making.
Click here to see how DAC, Fittleworth Medical Limited, with the support of Pegasus, developed a new online service called ProVIS that utilises NHS data effectively and confidentially, and allows visibility to their patient data so that clinical reviews can be made.