With connected devices and wearables so prevalent in our everyday lives, it is not surprising that healthcare would use them to improve patient care. What may be surprising are the ways they are being utilized. The most obvious way to leverage the internet-of-things (IoT) would be to get self-generated patient data into the Electronic Health Record (EHR), as defined in Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms (The National Alliance for Health Information Technology, April 28, 2008): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conform... medical record. But since there are still hurdles to patient data integration, such as patient identification and authentication, the healthcare industry is bypassing that hurdle and has found unique ways to leverage patient-generated data.
Two sessions at HIMSS18 focused on unique implementations of devices and wearables. In session 158, IoT and Wayfinding: Optimizing Healthcare , Kaleida Health shared its inaugural IoT journey of developing a wayfinding solution. In session 230, Harvesting Wearable Device Data , the American College of Cardiology (ACC) identified devices and mobile applications that could be leveraged to improve population health. Both of these sessions provide examples of how non-traditional data can be used to impact healthcare.
Additional reading: Improving patient-centric measurement in value-based care 
Kaleida Health was in the process of building a new children’s facility. One of the issues they faced with the old facility was the inability of families to navigate the facility. When families are faced with going to a children’s hospital for medical care, it is undoubtedly an extremely stressful time for the entire family. Anything a healthcare system can do to eliminate stress for the family is very important.
Since facility navigation had previously been identified as something that was adding stress, Kaleida Health challenged itself to come up with a unique way to help families. The solution was a wayfinding app that would guide the family from the patient’s home through their departure from the facility. This may seem simple, but it transformed the patient experience on its large campus. From knowing where to park, where to check-in, to where the next appointment is located, the wayfinding solution guides the family through the entire visit and eliminates the stress of navigating the campus.
The ACC set out on a mission to improve cardiovascular care through population health management by utilizing wearables and mobile applications. The idea was to track the habits of at-risk patients and utilize the data collected to make better decisions on treating other at-risk patients. The ACC partnered with the following four vendors to collect data:
- FatSecret’s (calorie counter app)
- Google Fit
This non-clinical data was used to provide additional insights to the longitudinal perspective of a patient that might otherwise be missing. In the end, this data can help guide physicians to offer more effective healthcare decisions.
More data is available than ever before to help improve patient care. APIs enable providers and other institutions to become creative with the way they enhance workflows or provide intelligent guidance.
With Meaningful Use Stage 3, all certified EHR solutions will be required to have an open API. As data becomes more available through APIs, the unique ways in which that data can be utilized will certainly continue to surface. These examples are just the beginning.