Why Treating and Managing Chronic Conditions Requires a Different Kind of Search

Siloed medical records makes Specialty Care especially difficult. Learn how Particle is enabling a simple, seamless way to access condition-specific patient records from health centers of excellence across the entire country.

More of us are coping with chronic health conditions than ever before. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), six out of 10 Americans currently suffer from one chronic disease, and four out of 10 suffer from two or more. 

Their care presents significant medical records management challenges because these patients tend to have more complicated histories and more fragmented care delivery experiences than others. Patients see multiple specialists at Centers of Excellence in addition to their primary care physicians, and often move between inpatient and outpatient care settings. As a result, these patients generate more healthcare data that ends up fragmented and siloed across different networks of care – making it really difficult for their providers to get a complete, accurate picture of their health history. Further complicating matters are the newer technologies and devices such as blood glucose meters, at-home COPD devices, etc., which are generating even more data into their electronic health records.

With data from these patients siloed across different networks, the providers who care for them are at risk of missing critical information if they rely only on geography-oriented Record Locator Services (RLS). Without a comprehensive history of their patients, providers lack actionable data and can’t develop and coordinate the most effective care plans possible. Moreover, the complexity of patients’ chronic health conditions exacerbates the problem by increasing the risks of omissions and errors, making surfacing the right data at the right time even more crucial. 

Let’s look at an example: Mary is a 55-year-old who has a rare diagnosis of ocular melanoma. She lives in Virginia and has a primary care physician as well as a local oncologist. Unfortunately, they are not in the same health system so keeping her primary care physician up to date with her oncology care can be difficult. Because ocular melanoma is a rare disease, she also travels to Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City for care where she has an ophthalmologist, a radiation oncologist, and a uveal melanoma oncologist. These physicians also do not readily have access to her records from Virginia and although they try to coordinate care with her local oncologist, it seems to often be a series of missed phone calls and unsent faxes.

It's clear that treating patients with complex chronic conditions requires more advanced tools. That’s why we launched our Specialty Search RLS capabilities -- to make condition-specific search for this patient data simpler. Specialty Search lets providers run a unique, condition-focused search on relevant Centers of Excellence across state lines and the country to make siloed patient data actionable. 

We started with four health foci: oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and orthopedics. This year, we expanded our Specialty Search capabilities to address a new set of complex health conditions: pulmonology, nephrology and gastroenterology -- enabling an even larger scope of providers treating chronic illnesses to run a record search with unprecedented thoroughness.  If a provider is in need of data for a patient with a complex condition that involves a number of nationally recognized specialists, then Specialty Search can have a huge impact. 

Data shows that xCures, a company focused on identifying the most promising treatment options for people with cancer, was able to return 43% more records for all patients with Specialty Search. This data enabled a more comprehensive assessment of treatment options resulting in better care. Additionally, 12.5% of patients who previously did not have sufficient medical record data available to facilitate enrollment in a given clinical program have successfully been enrolled, resulting in access to crucial and time-sensitive care therapies.

Personalized treatment matching is just one way that Specialty Search can accelerate patient care. Want to learn more about why our Specialty Search is so…well, special? Read more here about how it’s benefiting patients, watch a video here to see how it works, or do a deep dive into our white paper.