The challenges to healthcare delivery today are surpassing conceivable solutions. Increasing number and severity of patients exist with concomitant decreased supply of and access to care specialists. Higher acuity patients that were formerly cared for in acute and intensive care settings are increasingly cared for in intermediate, progressive, and general care environments as well as post-acute and homecare settings. Healthcare organizations are challenged to understand under which circumstance patients may receive optimal quality, safety and efficiency; therefore, are continually seeking new knowledge to guide healthcare delivery. The connected health, telemedicine or tele-healthcare approach in particular, is a ripe area for expanding knowledge. There is a growing body of literature that demonstrates connected health technologies make healthcare more effective and efficient by electronically connecting clinicians and patients. This approach expedites remote diagnosis and treatment, enables continuous monitoring and adjustment of therapies and supports patient self-care by leveraging technology and providers across large populations of patients. In the acute care setting, the telemedicine model arose in the intensive care units (Tele-ICU) which has evolved into technology enabled tele-healthcare innovation. These innovations include advanced physiologic monitoring, clinical decision-support functions and cognitive affordances applied in a variety of care settings has shown to provide patients an advanced level of care, increased access and deceased mortality, complications, readmissions and length-of-stay (LOS). Technology enabled tele-healthcare provides integration of healthcare services along the continuum beyond traditional ‘brick and mortar’. The tele-healthcare concept is no longer unique and continues to grow to meet the rising complexity of healthcare needs of patients in any location or time zone. Tele-healthcare technological innovations enable benefits beyond maximizing healthcare access and patient care outcomes.
Analytics and Research Rationale: Data Derived from Telehealth Technological Infrastructure Complement Empirical Research Designs and Methods.
Tele-healthcare innovations enable advancement of high quality scientific inquiry for generation of new knowledge about populations, the effectiveness of care delivery and prediction of outcomes. These Telehealthcare technologic infrastructures establish a treasure trove of big data in near-real time and in archive. This treasure of data allows the exploration of previously inconceivable bio-analytical techniques and computational capabilities. Clinicians may systematically identify patterns of clinically meaningful signals, features, similarities, constellations or differences for comprehensive and coherent risk factor analyses, stratification, and scoring. Clinicians may advance the discipline of data science to include non-linear modeling, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Additionally, a new era of data-driven recruitment for clinical trials is conceived. Healthcare implementation science (application of new knowledge and strategies to optimize care) will determine what works well outside the research environment in generalizable fashion through tele-healthcare delivery systems data amassments. A scientific paradigm shift is underway towards comparative effectiveness research, the evaluation of the associations between non-randomized populations and clinical outcomes that provide clinicians insights in to how an individual expresses disease and responds to therapy, precision medicine.