How Holistic Decision Making Can Improve Health Care

How Holistic Decision Making Can Improve Health Care

In today’s digitized health care environment, the quality of decision making depends on the quality and availability of the underlying data. Smart data integration can help increase the quality of data-based decision making, especially in scenarios where clinical decision makers face multiple barriers and challenges along the patient pathway.

In medicine, decision making has a clear goal: to benefit the patient. Achieving this goal increasingly depends on the smart use of medical data.

Of course, not all medical decisions are necessarily difficult. In some uncomplicated health care situations, professional medical knowledge is sufficient to find an expedient solution, so decisions are straightforward. But decision making becomes more complex as the number of diagnoses and treatment options increase, along with the amount of relevant patient data and the risk of complications.

The continuously growing, multidimensional range of health data from electronic medical records, image databases, and other multilayered and often fragmented IT systems is becoming more and more important for making up-to-date, patient-oriented decisions and designing care processes accordingly.

The challenge in a complex case is to integrate a wide range of data from a variety of sources. Clinical, radiological, and laboratory information; genetic and pathological findings; and insights into behavioral and social conditions should contribute to a decision that meets the highest possible standards and considers the personal situation and preferences of the patient.

Medical decisions occur along the continuum of care, from initial clinical contact to follow-up. The questions health care providers need to address are:

  • What do I need to do diagnostically and therapeutically?
  • How can I use my resources in the process efficiently?
  • With whom should I share information and coordinate to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient?

Complex decisions can fail for various reasons. Patient data might not be accessible, or may be too extensive and unstructured. Information might be overlooked. Guidelines might not be sufficiently executed. These challenges can create inefficient and costly workflows and compromise clinical outcomes.

However, such challenges can be solved with a scalable and flexible digital platform that gathers patient data from sources in various IT systems and institutions, and that provides caretakers with easy access to patient data across all touchpoints of the patient journey. Smart data integration can ultimately provide a more comprehensive picture of the patient and support holistic decision making in medicine.

Health care increasingly uses the full range and volume of abundant and complex health data, and three changes will make this shift happen even more widely:

  • First, health care providers need a digital infrastructure that is as simple as possible as well as versatile and adaptable: ideally, a system-wide platform for networking data.
  • Second, providers need a growing number of intelligent applications that can meaningfully apply networked data to specific operational and clinical questions.
  • Third, as digitization changes the nature of medical decision making, such decisions will continue to be the responsibility of doctors—and patients. Nevertheless, health care providers will increasingly have to make use of advanced digital decision support to bring the wealth of data into their deliberations and use it in a profitable way.

Siemens Healthineers has designed its digital health platform as a flexible tool that uses the increasingly important data for health care. Its integrated marketplace provides one-stop access to a growing number of proprietary applications as well as curated and pre-vetted partner applications, enabling advanced and customized digitization for a wide range of health care providers and care situations.

Learn more about how Siemens Healthineers empowers health care providers with solutions that support smart data integration and decisions along the patient pathway.