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ECRI Cautions Hospitals About Tech Hype

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 12, 2014

9. Intelligent Sensor Pills
Poor medication adherence in patients after discharge is a known cause of readmissions and patient complications that the three-pronged Proteus Digital Health Feedback System is trying to fix.

It combines an ingestible sensor embedded in a pill, a personal monitor, and a mobile phone or web-based platform to communicate data.

A patient swallows the sensor-embedded pill that releases a chip that is activated by stomach fluids. The sensor transmits information about the drug, dose, and time of ingestion.

Detection rates are high, but cost effectiveness remains unclear, and data are lacking in this technology's ability to reduce readmissions and other patient complications.

10. Big Data from EHR Systems
Registries of patient outcomes maintained by payers and product manufacturers can open doors to better healthcare decisions, the report says.

These so called "big data," systems can help facilities "use tools to alert providers and patients of potentially harmful events, such as medication side effects, allergic reactions, and even the development of an infection," and thus can reduce hospital admissions and readmissions.

But using big data to improve care is taking a long time, the report says. That's because gathering and cleaning data to make it useable "is still in its infancy" in part because of the "fragmentation of data in multiple places," from outpatient labs, to hospitals, to nursing homes.

"With data residing in individual silos, data sharing can be a seemingly insurmountable challenge, but survival requires strategic planning for big data aggregation and analysis."

ECRI says only a handful of large healthcare systems have the technology and personnel to harness data analytics. Others "will most likely have to partner with other organizations, such as an accountable care organization, to successfully take advantage of analytics."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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