More and more, consumers are turning to wearables, medical apps, and mobile devices to monitor their health and fitness; there is an opportunity for companies and health care systems to get a broader sense of a population’s health. With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services‘ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) submitted a white paper titled “Conceptualizing a Data Infrastructure for the Capture, Use, and Sharing of Patient-Generated Health Data in Care Delivery and Research through 2024.”
The ONC published the paper along with Accenture Federal Services, a private company that helps federal agencies “manage change, modernize information systems, optimize key headquarters governance and processes, and create improvement strategies for enterprise performance.”
Patient-generated health data (PGHD) affects – and will affect- everyone from policy makers to clinicians to patients themselves in the years to come. The white paper seeks to be a “first-draft” deep dive into the pros and cons of utilizing this data. They found that currently, ” clinicians typically make decisions based on data they collect in clinical care settings that create a snapshot of the patient’s health at single points in time, rather than continuous measurements outside of clinical settings.” The ONC further states that health care professionals don’t have access to this vast swath of information.
Looking forward, the ONC predicts that in 2024 there will be a more mature system of capturing and utilizing PGHD. This system includes the seamless flow of data between patients and doctors, a collaborative patient-provider relationship (allowing for fewer office visits), and stronger research with PGHD. There are some challenges, however, that the ONC recognizes to making their prediction a reality such as the sheer volume of data, the accuracy of devices used, lack of interoperability, and finally the security of data. But they are hopeful that with the help of policy makers, the aforementioned barriers could be mitigated significantly with new laws and more funding. Even more encouraging are studies that were included in the white paper.
The ONC is currently taking comments on this white paper to shape the final draft.