How does data analytics impact telehealth services?

Data analytics and telehealth are two concepts that appear together in conversation a lot – but how does one impact the other, and how are they affecting real-world change for patients? In this blog post, we’ll explore how these ideas complement each other and talk about how they’re affecting future approaches to healthcare.

We’ve talked about telehealth before on this blog and, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic only showing slight signs of slowing down, these kinds of services will likely be the new normal. By investing in remote patient care technology, healthcare providers are ensuring that access to treatment is becoming more and more equitable – and it looks like this technology is here to stay. So how exactly does data analytics influence this new form of patient care? 

For the most part, telehealth wouldn’t be possible without data analytics in some shape or form. There’s an enormous amount of data being generated by these services – digital companions, for example, provide invaluable information into individual patient journeys, whilst telehealth consultations results in a better understanding of how patient monitoring works remotely. On its own, this information isn’t hugely useful, but it turns into a hugely advantageous resource once it’s been cleaned, sorted, and organized appropriately.

Data analytics can present telehealth service providers with information that suggests patterns and anomalies in responses to care, offering invaluable new insights which can be actioned to alter approaches to treatment and affect real world change for everyday patients. These insights can be used in a huge variety of ways, from tweaking certain aspects of an app to using aggregated and analyzed data to redetermine best practices. 

Of course, ensuring that this data is used responsibly is key. There’s been a fair amount of discussion surrounding the ethics of using something as sensitive as health data, and for good reason. For a variety of reasons, many people have a reflex of concern when they hear the phrase data analytics, as it raises questions of privacy and consent. It makes a lot of sense to question and examine the reasons an organization might need to make use of data derived from telehealth services, as well as how they’d go about storing and analyzing it.

Whilst these are valid concerns, the benefits of using data analytics in order to derive actionable insights from telehealth data greatly outweigh any negative aspects of this process. Additionally, this data is totally anonymized, with no identifying information available for access. Data analysts aren’t interesting in the intricacies of your personal life – they only care about the details that matter, and the ones which might provide clues as to how to improve the current state of affairs within the healthcare sphere.

An important point to consider when determining whether or not it’s responsible to use this information is that this data exists anyway, regardless of whether or not it’s used by analysts to make valuable new discoveries in the healthcare sector. In this context – and as long as this data is provided with the full consent of the individual in question - it might be considered to be something of a waste to not use this information, as it offers a golden opportunity to improve existing standards of care, improving the lives of real-world patients and providing countless individuals with better and more equitable access to treatment.

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