In spring of 2016, the New York Times reported on a national survey, conducted by Harvard researchers, that found 39 percent of people over age 65 use five or more medications. The number represented a 70 percent increase in polypharmacy over the course of the 12-year survey.
The New York Times article also highlighted a JAMA Internal Medicine survey that showed sizable percentages of people 62 to 85 also take dietary supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
The American Journal of Managed Care pointed to a Harris Poll conducted for CareMore that found 64 percent of seniors saw three or more health care providers in the past year.
These types of survey results highlight what Cathryn Kelly, a manager of population health at Lehigh Valley Health Network, calls one of the biggest challenges facing health — fragmentation of care.
“Patients access care in a multitude of different ways. Sometimes they live in an area that has more than one health system. They will access care across the health systems. Those health systems don’t necessarily communicate,” says Kelly.
That can lead to a duplication of services or drug interactions, or patients tracked to the wrong level of care.
But how can acute care providers align with primary care clinics, pharmacies, skilled nursing facilities, laboratories and the many other points of care patients encounter? Kelly believes this can be accomplished by sharing data.
She answers five questions in five minutes on data exchange in the latest #5in5 episode from Optum Provider. She discusses the possible effects of data sharing on patients’ health and the ability to better utilize health care dollars.
About the Author:
Leslie Cozatt currently serves as director of Marketing, Optum Provider – Thought Leadership and Content Strategy. She directs the development of content that spotlights the role of data analytics in healthcare – specifically the transition to value-based care, risk management and population health management. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience developing B2B and B2C integrated marketing campaigns for companies including ThreeWire, Eliance and 3M. Leslie attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from Wellington College with a BS in international business & communication