Editor's note: Roshan Navagamuwa is CIO of CVS Health.
The consumer healthcare experience is transforming. Consumer preferences have changed, and the nation's reliance on digital-first experiences is growing. For healthcare organizations, this shift means having to prioritize IT investments that both make the biggest impact and make a next-generation healthcare experience possible.
Healthcare delivery organizations have been working on enterprise modernization efforts for decades, but the pandemic accelerated organizations' digitization strategies by at least three to four years. And while there's been a lot of talk about what a modern healthcare experience should look and feel like — convenient and connected, personalized and standardized — this vision can only come to life with the right data platforms in place to make it possible.
Data ecosystems and platform integration: imperatives to improving healthcare
It takes large-scale solutions to meet the country's evolving healthcare delivery needs, and today that means having intelligent, integrated data platforms to make rapid innovation possible.
To build a well-functioning health care data ecosystem — capable of both improving care and providing an omnichannel experience — healthcare IT organizations must prioritize investment in the following key areas:
- Integrated clinical data repositories: Leveraging multiple clinical data repositories (CDRs) that combine relevant data and insights from across the enterprise means better, more personalized care options, including opportunities for both prevention and intervention.
- Cloud-first model: Adopt a cloud-first approach to more easily connect solutions and improve information exchange. Building solutions in the cloud increases organizational speed and agility — a requirement in healthcare's highly dynamic environment. The cloud also enables more effective electronic health record integration (and interoperability overall) for better information sharing and more personalized care.
- Data quality assurance: Having an architecture that prioritizes data quality as part of the product and development environment itself will help produce reliable, high-integrity recommendations for higher quality care.
- Security and compliance: Ensuring data privacy and consumer trust is paramount. Organizations must embed security controls and privacy rules throughout the layers of a data ecosystem and CDR architecture to maintain confidentiality and trust with both patients and the healthcare ecosystem.
The benefits of doing the above well are profound. Integrated clinical data platforms can help consumers stay more connected with their healthcare. For example, clinical data platforms provide consumers convenient access to their vaccine information, among other things. Data platforms can also make it easier for patients to get timely access to the medications they need and speed up the prior authorization process, given their ability to combine lab data, diagnoses information and progress notes from multiple sources.
Leveraging clinical data in this way also improves patient communication while providing more transparency and insights for better healthcare outcomes.
Data platform integration and data ecosystem development enhances the consumer care journey, and healthcare technology teams must continue investing in these areas in the months and years to come. By putting the right data, connections and infrastructure in place, we can deliver on the promise of providing better, more personalized patient care today, while also laying a foundation for the future.