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Author's profile photo James Krouse

Enabling an Ounce of Prevention: How Big Data and Social Networks Yield a Better Patient Experience

BY: David Delaney, Chief Medical Officer, SAP SE

We hear lots of talk these days about Big Data changing the way that healthcare providers run their
practices and deliver patient care.

But there’s an equally big opportunity to empower patients: By providing them with access to information about their health and related
issues, they can better advocate for their health and wellness.

Today’s consumers are accustomed to having fairly easy and streamlined access to all sorts of information, from their financial investments and their children’s progress in school to reviews of the products they’re considering for purchase. As a result, they can use knowledge as power to make more informed decisions about all aspects of their lives. The same is possible with their healthcare. And in a world where the average time physicians spend with each patient is declining, it’s more important than ever that patients are engaged and informed about their health.

Bringing Healthcare Full Circle


One venue making this possible is Care Circles. an online resource launched by SAP that allows healthcare providers to deliver
high-quality contextualized information – in all types of formats, including video and print – to patients. With access to this information, patients can
better prepare for face-to-face meetings with providers, allowing them to focus on the nuances of an issue or concern rather than just covering the basics
during their interactions.


For instance, let’s assume Nathan recently started physical therapy after undergoing knee surgery. Through Care Circles, his physician can upload aggregated information reflecting his institution’s treatment experience of other knee patients.


By accessing this information, Nathan can compare his progress to other knee-replacement patients. When he sees that his range of motion is a bit lower than others in his situation, he realizes he needs to push himself harder with his exercises at home. In this way, Nathan is more engaged in his own health and wellness.


Pulling Loved Ones into the Mix


At the same time, loved ones can also access information via Care Circles – with permission – and be more engaged in the health and wellness
of their family and friends.

Perhaps an elderly patient – Maggie – is a diabetic with a sweet tooth. Though Maggie’s doctor has emphasized the need for her to cut down
on sugary treats, Maggie finds it challenging to make this lifestyle change. Maggie’s only child, George, is very concerned about his mother’s health but feels
helpless to make a difference as he lives a few states away. However, with access to his mother’s blood glucose readings online, he can easily see when
her levels spike. In turn, he can engage her in a conversation and try to influence her snack choices. This type of involvement can empower loved ones to
become true agents of change by triggering their encouragement when it’s needed most

Today’s consumers want to be active participants in their health and wellness. By tapping into Big Data and social networking, we can empower them – and their loved ones – to do just that.


How are you making it possible for your patients to better advocate for themselves? How is your healthcare provider empowering you – or falling short? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment or sending me a tweet. David Delaney (@DrDavidDelaney) | Twitter


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