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Mar 15 2016   3:56PM GMT

ONC contracts Accenture subsidiary to make patient-generated health data framework

Alex Delvecchio Alex Delvecchio Profile: Alex Delvecchio

Wearable devices

Healthcare providers overwhelmed by the amount of data recorded by the wearable and mobile health devices of their patient populations can take some comfort in knowing that it won’t be solely up to them to develop policies for analyzing patient-generated health data.

Accenture Federal Services, an Accenture LLP subsidiary, signed a two-year contract with ONC to create a list of best practices for collecting and using patient-generated health data for care delivery and research purposes. Accenture will also look for new ways for patient-generated data to be used and it will also try to identify and fix some of the flawed methods of handling patient-generated health data.

A planned approach to capturing and evaluating patient-generated health data can not only lead to “potential cost savings and improvements in quality, care coordination, and patient safety but it can provide a more comprehensive picture of ongoing patient health,” Mary Edwards, Accenture’s leader in work with federal civilian health agencies, said in an Accenture release.

However, there is reason to believe wearables will be slow to catch on among patients.

Patient-generated data can be collected through questionnaires and surveys, as well as by wearable health technology and other fitness trackers. For people that choose the technological route, they must first buy a wearable health device before putting it on and using it. Though that process sounds simple, many people — including those most in need of wearables — struggle to justify paying for a device even though it could help monitor their medical conditions.

Only 37% of respondents to a survey done by Xerox Human Resources Services said that their organizations used activity tracking technology to promote employee wellness programs. A Xerox representative suspected that the low adoption figure was due in part to the cost of wearables. In a recent interview with SearchHealth IT, Lisa Gualtieri, stated a similar opinion. Gualtieri, assistant professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University, thinks that people will purchase wearable technology, but only if they believe their investment will pay off.

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