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Improving cardiovascular health starts with embracing data-enabled insights | Viewpoint


The convergence of technological advances with a heightened demand for personalized, flexible approaches to care, forms the basis for the future of life sciences.

Shared decision-making and data-enabled patient insights are key to empowering patients to make informed decisions, helping clinicians navigate patient therapy options in alignment with patient goals, and improving patient understanding of their health with the potential to alter behavior through wearable technology data.

Image credit: Abbott

Connie Baumgard

This is particularly true for more complex health issues, such as cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death nationwide.

The emphasis on patient centeredness represents a critically important shift in healthcare delivery. Amplifying the provider-patient relationship and individualized, tailored therapy can be optimized by data-enabled insights. Patients see technology as playing a key role in personalizing their care.

More than half (55%) of surveyed patients believe that technology can help their doctor understand the latest treatment approaches, but critically they want to weigh in about their options. Many (58%) want the ability to weigh their options and express a preference for treatment. As an interventional cardiology nurse practitioner with over 25 years of clinical experience, I witnessed firsthand the impact of harnessing patient data and preferences on patient satisfaction, experience and ultimately outcomes,

Without access to the right data at the right time, the delivery of vital care is hampered, making it challenging to address healthcare needs. Patients are seeking more transparency about their health than ever before, while physicians and the industry at large are actively working to move toward technology adoption and innovating how to effectively advance the delivery of care.

Abbott’s multi-year, global thought leadership initiative, “Beyond Intervention,” aims to understand what is influencing the vascular care journey. The research spans the entire care continuum, from the early stages of symptom awareness, testing and treatment to post-intervention care and the return of wellness. This year, the focus was on the last stage of the patient experience – what happens after intervention and explores opportunities to maximize the utility of digital health tools to improve the comprehensive care experience.

Leveraging the Beyond Intervention research, there are three key areas the healthcare industry can tackle to move toward a more data-centric approach to patient care.

The power of data and addressing existing barriers for clinicians

By leveraging data from various sources such as electronic health records, traditional imaging, consumer technological devices, or medically prescribed devices, we can create products, services, and solutions essential for enhancing the patient experience. This approach has the potential to significantly improve patient satisfaction across the care continuum and optimize clinician delivery of care. The challenges of implementing them into clinical practice are substantial.

According to our most recent Beyond Intervention findings, U.S. clinicians aren’t convinced that having more data on patients will improve the clinical experience. This stands in contrast to the 63% of patients surveyed who desired that their physician have as much health information about them as possible. Clinicians noted that the top barriers to leveraging patient data in clinical practice are driven by complex factors, including being overwhelmed by the impact of large quantities of patient data and the desire to be compensated to review and incorporate it.

Patient and physician-centric technology is here to stay

The acceleration of digitalization, new advances in the power of data analytics and the increasing consumer demand for more personalized and convenient healthcare, coupled with the pressure to change payment models is opening doors and pushing health leaders to rethink how care should be delivered.

What technologies are important to patients and physicians? Patients top ranked technologies included remote blood pressure monitoring devices (56%), followed by wearable health trackers (55%) and telemedicine (52%), while physicians top rated technologies were telemedicine (59%), emergency call buttons (59%) and remote blood pressure monitoring devices that automatically send info to physicians (58%).

Building AI trust among physicians is next

AI is already being leveraged in numerous ways across the healthcare system and in cardiology in particular. AI has been used to automate image quality control in cardiology and acquire and reconstruct images, among other applications. While patients and admins largely had a positive outlook on how AI could improve patient outcomes, physicians and admins were less trusting of the technology than physicians. While only 34% of physicians slightly agreed with the statement that they would trust AI to recommend the best treatment to them or their patients, in comparison with 57% of patients and 51% of admins.

Utilizing these findings for better health outcomes

The convergence of technological advances with a heightened demand for personalized, flexible approaches to care, forms the basis for the future direction of life sciences. Intelligent health ecosystems are the blueprint for a smart, connected, personalized patient-centered health care model for the future. With an increased focus on wearables, it is important to push toward an even more connected patient experience, take steps to improve data literacy and benefits among physicians, embrace wearables that provide valuable insights and build AI trust among physicians.

Together, we can transform the delivery of care, and provide the insights needed to improve care using the power of data and leveraging innovative technologies.

Connie Baumgard is director of U.S. medical affairs at Abbott’s vascular business.

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