In January, Accenture completed its two-year contract with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to create a white paper to advise the industry about implementing patient-generated health data projects.
Emily Mitchell, a senior manager with the Accenture Federal Services Health and Public Service practice and one of the leaders of the project, sat down with MobiHealthNews to talk about the project.
“The white paper, at its most basic, was intended to inform ONC of what are the challenges, what are the best practices, what’s actually going on in the real world as they think about longterm policy considerations,” Mitchell said. “So it was meant to inform the government, help them understand what is the current state and what’s achievable in the future, but also what are the roadblocks that need to be overcome in the meantime.”
In the course of creating the white paper, Accenture coordinated two pilots — one with Validic and Sutter Health and another with Tapcloud and Amita Health — to get firsthand lessons for deploying patient-generated health data projects.
“Everyone was concerned that it was going to be a data overload, and increase the clinician burden,” Mitchell said. “… I think in the pilots they demonstrated that it can work for the clinicians. In both cases we had really good feedback both from the patients and also from the care teams, that it can work as long as you're thoughtful about how you’re implementing PGHD. You can’t just all of a sudden start accepting data, but you need to be thoughtful about what are the workflows, how are you going to implement it, who’s going to review the data and set expectations with the patients about the frequency.”
Accenture even decided to augment the 67-page white paper with a three-page practical guide for organizations hoping to use patient-generated data in their own hospitals.
“The practical guide … is a shorter, abbreviated version that talks about some of the questions that organizations should think through if they’re thinking about implementing a patient-generated health data program,” Mitchell said. “So it provides some considerations, risks they need to prepare for, questions they should ask themselves internally, to help them get off to the right start in terms of how they strategize about that program.”
In order for patient-generated health data to reach wide adoption, Mitchell said, more improvements will need to be made to payment models and reimbursement. But the ONC having a baseline of information could help the government to get there.
“The contract is over, all of our reports are done and were released by the ONC. But the goal is that it will continue to inform longterm policies,” Mitchell said. “Within our report, we had a chart showing the adoption curve for patient-generated health data. We were working toward what we could expect by 2024, so my vision and hope is from the enabling actions that we identified in the paper, that over the next several years those will continue to evolve and mature so it can get to that seamless, frictionless world.”