There’s absolutely no doubt that medicine has changed dramatically over the past twenty years and it continues to shift every day. As we move from traditional medicine to a more defined era of what some medical professionals are now calling “Health 2.0,” new problems and new solutions have appeared. Disparities in health systems are now addressed with innovative technologies that deliver and augment healthcare practices in ways never before seen. In particular, Health 2.0 as a paradigm shift focuses on providing tools that are not only versatile and unparalleled in connectivity, but also provide the best value for healthcare dollars. One such tool is Geneia’s Theon.
Geneia defines Theon as the “intersection of data and health care.” The Theon platform is comprised of four modules: Care Optimizer, Care Collaborator, Care Engager and Care Modeler. I participated in a demo of two of the modules – Care Optimizer and Care Collaborator – which together appear to meet the needs of integrated health systems, hospitals and large physician practices, especially those working in an accountable care organization (ACO), pay for performance or pay for quality contract or even Medicare’s readmissions risk-sharing arrangement. These modules optimize clinical outcomes, identify and close cost-avoidance and revenue opportunities, and help care teams work with each other and with the patient to improve and coordinate care.
As Chief Medical Officer at the Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, I work in disease and care management, population health, and electronic medical records, among other things. For many years, I’ve been particularly interested in the business and politics of medicine at the state, national, and international levels, as well as the quality and cost of healthcare. After receiving a deep background on Geneia’s Theon, I believe that this new tool might be one of the keys to positively changing our medical system in the near future.
My first impressions of Theon? I see it as essentially a very user friendly aggregation of medically-relevant data. At its core, Theon allows physicians interested in individual patients or population health to look at data in a quick and easy-to-navigate manner, whether it’s high cost patients, hospitalizations, ER use, pharmacy or radiology costs. Most importantly, it allows one to drill down into the information in an intuitive fashion, and do three things: A) understand the current state, B) design a plan, and C) actually close the loop and generate beneficial outcomes for individual patients or group of patients. With training, the possibility to manipulate data in Theon is what makes it particularly useful.
In terms of population health, understanding trends in medical data is important for drawing conclusions and generating intervention strategies and outcomes. With Theon, the capability to understand trends in data within large populations is a significant improvement over traditional EMR systems, most of which simply don’t have that capability or integration built-in. Theon also presents the option of using data to help leaders and decision makers understand where there might be opportunities for systemic improvement.
For example, if we were dealing with a contract with a health plan, we can see a trend in increased use of a hepatitis C drug and it is driving costs through the roof and we need to do something about it. That’s the sort of thing where a powerful system like this can help detect early problems. At the other end of the spectrum, one could see an increase in numbers of people presenting with the flu in a certain county, and the resources and patients can be managed and treated much better.
With enhanced artificial intelligence and logic invested into understanding medical data, Theon not only holds potential as an analytics tool, but also as a public health tool. The improved system-wide utilization of data and healthcare resources could save substantial amounts of money in global budgets.
Additionally, Theon, as a platform, appears to enable better interoperability, a huge problem within preexisting EMRs. If a patient of ours goes to another hospital that uses a different EMR, and if these EMRs cannot talk to each other, we simply can’t get the data on our patient for follow-up care. The important question for any such platform then becomes, can you interface with another EMR and obtain the data? Theon appears to be significantly more capable of handling multiple data platforms simultaneously, and therefore may provide a much more viable alternative in this regard as well.
Overall, Theon appears comprehensive in covering many bases in terms of the needs of the physician. At the same time, however, I’m cautious about that assessment. Test data is completely different from driving the system with real data – and while Geneia does currently have some substantial clients, it would be necessary to have a far greater investment of financial resources and testing with a larger patient population before complete in-depth analysis of its efficacy can be understood.
Theon appears to be a tool that has the ability to contribute to the development of a powerful platform that is interoperable and versatile, yet also capable of providing a standard for other health care platforms. I think the technology here is very powerful and has a tremendous amount to offer, both for the individual treatment of the patient and the care of the population. The challenges to the colleagues of our respective generations is to use technology wisely for the greater good, and there is still definitely a lot room for improvement.
This article was made possible through promotional consideration from Geneia.
Richard A. Parker, MD is Chief Medical Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Care Organization in Boston, MA.
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