Trust is dwindling due to increases in hackings and ransomware threats.
There has been a recent increase in focus on the development of population health management efforts in the United States. Like many other countries, the US continues to make the effort to gather more medical data in order to develop better solutions for diseases and conditions that impact the greater population.
Population health management, as defined by Philips Wellcentive, is the aggregation of patient data across multiple health information technology resources, the analysis of that data into a single, actionable patient record, and the actions through which care providers can improve both clinical and financial outcomes.”
Health Catalyst believes that PHM can simply be defined by the same definition as Public Health according to C.-E.A. Winslow, founder of the Yale Department of Public Health: “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private communities, and individuals.”
The main goal of population health management is to provide positive impacts on the general health and finances of a population through the gathering and analysis of greater amounts of patient data. Patient health data is the major component necessary in order for PHM to provide results. However, physicians are finding it difficult to gather the needed medical data from patients.
HIPAA Journal recently reported on patient sentiment towards sharing important medical data with providers. According to a Black Book survey cited by HIPAA Journal, patients have been found more likely to withhold medical information in fears of security breaches, the increase of ransomware and cyberattacks on protected health information.
Lack of prior medical history makes it increasingly more difficult to prescribe proper treatment on an individual basis and on a greater scale. The effectiveness and safety of treatment can be compromised if patients are not transparent with preexisting conditions, medications, treatments, etc. Missing health information also decreases the reliability of data when applied to healthcare reforms and population health management programs.
One prevalent patient concern is that their data will be shared by employees and third parties without their awareness or approval. It has been known that healthcare professionals often share patient info via non-compliant and unsecure ways like texting, that may contribute to an increased probability of breaches. Along with non-compliant modes of communication and threat of cyber attacks, patients are also concerned with the level of security provided by the different technologies providers are using such as EMR systems, portals, and mobile messaging apps.
These concerns are negatively impacting the overall healthcare experience in many ways. In order to improve individual medical care and population health management efforts healthcare technology and healthcare IT security providers will have to continually create more innovative solutions to ensure better compliance and increased security to protect patients. Healthcare software and hardware providers and healthcare administrators need to be certain that products are following HIPAA security guidelines.
Healthcare providers can also help improve adoption and patients’ attitudes towards tech and sharing their data by becoming more transparent through clear communication and reassurance that these technologies are safe. User confidence by care providers and thorough explanations of use can also help set a patient's mind at ease, ultimately helping to improving communication and the quality of medical care.