IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that the Region of Southern Denmark (RSD) is launching a new program to provide comprehensive insight to improve the quality and comprehensiveness of care for patients with chronic illness. The goal of the program is to facilitate real-time communication among patients, physicians, pharmacists, mental health professionals and specialists so all parties have insight into patient care plans.
For patients with chronic illness, Denmark already has a strategy in place to help ensure early detection, self-care and support for patients. However, these patients are often seen by many different professionals within the healthcare, social services and city ecosystem. The new program using IBM’s Shared Care Platform will seek to help standardize procedures, efficiently analyze data across the continuum of care and social services, and create a holistic view of each patient to improve the level of care they receive both in the hospital, after discharge, and as they continue in everyday life.
“The project creates a needed overview of the continuity of patient care. With Big Data analytics capabilities, our strategy with the program is to improve communications and integrated care among health, social services and other providers where the focus is on the best patient care possible,” said Maria Hardt-Madsen, project manager, Southern Denmark Health Innovation.
Enhancing the quality of life for chronically ill patients
About 1.8 million Danes suffer from a chronic illness and the number is expected to rise by 400,000 patients in 2016. Today, 80 percent of all expenses in the Danish healthcare system relate to chronic illness, and estimates indicate that Denmark has a productivity loss of three to five billion Danish kroner due to absences related to chronic illness.
Among RSD’s population of about 1.2 million, 22 percent of the citizens suffer from a chronic illness. This number includes about 70,000 heart disease patients. These patients are now an important part of the new program involving two hospitals, three municipalities, several medical practices, the regional healthcare authorities and IBM. The program will initially focus on heart disease patients and will later include patients with other conditions such as type II diabetes and pulmonary conditions.
RSD’s program includes two types of patients. The first group consists of disadvantaged patients with a limited ability for self care. They have to inform all the involved care providers with details about their illness. With the new platform, the care providers are automatically informed with relevant details. The second patient group consists of patients with the ability for self care. They are active and interested in taking responsibility for their illness, but until recently they did not have the right tools. Now they have the possibility to gain insight into their treatment and, together with their care team, achieve the full overview of their situation.
New insights with analytics technology
The initial installation is underway at Svendborg Hospital and uses large volumes of information from the clinical setting, analyzes that data and provides critical insight to physicians, nurses and other caregivers. The new technology provides a single point of entry for patients and healthcare providers to coordinate care.
“Every individual is impacted by their health, social and environmental needs. To truly treat each patient as an individual, and provide the most comprehensive care, analytics technology today is being used in new ways to give us bold new insight,” said Henrik Wieland,Healthcare Industry Leader for Denmark. “With this kind of perspective and coordination among caregivers, this approach to delivering Smarter Care will drive profoundly better health outcomes for patients.”
Inspiration from DiaLog
RSD’s program is based on an existing engagement with IBM called DiaLog, a web- based solution for diabetes patients and their caregivers. About 20 percent of the diabetes patients in RSD use DiaLog to register and monitor their readings. The tool offers a complete overview to all relevant healthcare workers. The patients experience fewer complications and RSD attains an annual savings of 75 million Danish kroners.
IBM’s Smarter Care offerings help healthcare providers, public and private payers, life sciences, and social programs/benefits providers deliver holistic and individualized care to citizens. Combining content and Big Data predictive analytics, cognitive capabilities and industry specific services, Smarter Care uncovers valuable insights into social determinants, lifestyle choices and clinical factors, helping lower costs, enhance quality and improve outcomes.
For more information about IBM Smarter Care, visit http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/smarter_care/overview/.