Creating A Longitudinal Patient Profile: A 4-Step Guide

by | Jun 19, 2023 | Healthcare, Master Data Management

A healthcare professional creating a patient profile.

Healthcare providers need a comprehensive view of a patient’s health for effective treatment choices and better patient outcomes. Individual providers keep patient records but often don’t have access to all relevant patient data held by other providers and healthcare organizations. The solution to this gap in provider knowledge is creating integrated patient profiles from all patient data sources across organizations. This enables a longitudinal view of patient history and health to better understand patterns, monitor disease progression, and tailor treatment plans to individual patients.

This guide explains what longitudinal patient profiles are and how healthcare organizations can create them. 

Key Takeaways:
  • The more providers know about their patients’ medical histories – over time and in different organizations – the better they’re able to make informed treatment decisions and deliver optimal patient care.
  • Healthcare organizations store patient data to create patient profiles but do not necessarily draw on all relevant patient data sources from other providers and organizations.
  • A longitudinal perspective on patient health, aggregating all patient data, allows providers to make data-backed treatment choices. 

What Is a Longitudinal Patient Profile?

In healthcare, a patient profile is a comprehensive record of a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, treatment plans, and other health-related information.

A longitudinal patient profile refers to a continuous record of a patient’s health history and care over multiple encounters with the healthcare system. This record compiles information from various sources, including:

  • Doctors’ notes
  • Laboratory results
  • Imaging studies
  • Hospitalizations
  • Treatments, and outcomes

Adopting a longitudinal approach to patient profiling provides a holistic view of patient health, rather than just snapshots at different points in time. This approach aims to improve patient care by giving healthcare providers a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s health history, current conditions, treatments, and responses. It is also useful for identifying trends, predicting outcomes, and personalizing treatments.

Longitudinal patient profiles are becoming more important as healthcare organizations increasingly adopt a more patient-centered approach, and as technology makes it easier to collect, store, and analyze this type of data. For instance, technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs) are critical for creating longitudinal patient profiles, as they facilitate the digital collection and distribution of patient data over time. Besides traditional medical history sources, longitudinal patient profiles can include information about a patient’s lifestyle, environment, social determinants of health, genetics, and other factors relevant to healthcare decisions. 

4 Steps for Creating Longitudinal Patient Profiles

Healthcare organizations can follow these four steps to create longitudinal patient profiles. 

1. Enable Data Integration


Sources of big data for patient profiles in healthcare.
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Creating a comprehensive longitudinal patient profile requires integrating data from various sources. A longitudinal profile represents a single, unified record comprising big data from numerous sources within the healthcare data system. Notably, patient healthcare data typically resides in dozens of systems that don’t communicate with each other, leading to inefficiencies and poor health outcomes​. Enabling data integration in complex systems like healthcare IT environments involves a three-part process for IT personnel to:

  • Determine system requirements: This involves a thorough accounting for all databases and applications that store patient data and the necessary compliance steps to protect private health data.
  • Design software infrastructure: Given that patient data typically exists in multiple instances in healthcare IT systems, data integration plans must define how to resolve discrepancies and generate consistent master data sets. 
  • Implement integration plan for patient profiles: This requires tools like a master data management platform.

With a universal patient record integrated from multiple data sources, providers have a trusted 360-degree view of their patients, enhancing understanding of patients’ preferences, risks, and needs throughout their course of treatment​.

2. Apply Advanced Analytics

After enabling comprehensive data integration for all systems containing patient data, data management teams should apply advanced analytics to patient profile data. With the help of advanced analytics built on comprehensive and integrated data, care management teams can explore additional means of improving patient care, such as: 

  • Reduction of inappropriate procedures
  • Optimization of site-of-care choices
  • Closure of care gaps
  • Clinically appropriate use of medication, imaging, and pathology​

3. Use Real-time Monitoring

Longitudinal patient profiles should allow for real-time monitoring of patients, especially those with multiple chronic conditions. As universal patient longitudinal records accumulate information over time and across systems, delivering comprehensive personal care requires a holistic view of a patient’s medical history. In practice, providing real-time patient data to care providers involves different components of technological infrastructure.


How HIEs work.
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  • Electronic health records (EHRS): EHRs are digital versions of patients’ paper charts containing information like diagnoses, medications, treatments, immunizations, allergies, radiology images, and laboratory results. Although 82% of physicians currently use EHR systems in their practices, EHR data is not always available to all care providers.
  • Health information exchanges (HIEs): HIEs facilitate the exchange of patient data among healthcare organizations to enable coordinated care. Patient data exchanged through HIEs includes EHRs, government health records, and demographic data. 
  • Data from wearable devices: Devices like smartwatches can monitor patient conditions like heart rate variability, sleep patterns, and physical activity levels. Integrated, longitudinal patient profiles incorporate this data in real time to detect abnormalities, such as arrhythmias or sleep disorders, often before the patient is aware of any issue.

4. Take Advantage of Technological Innovations

The advent of telehealth and digital engagement with healthcare professionals has greatly changed the healthcare landscape – about 70% of providers who adopted telehealth during the pandemic continue to use remote technologies. Telehealth services and technologies now play a crucial role in enhancing the depth and breadth of longitudinal patient profiles. They offer a unique avenue for capturing patient data that might otherwise be missed in traditional healthcare settings.

Telehealth contributes to patient profiles by providing continuous remote patient monitoring. Devices can record vital signs, physical activity, sleep patterns, and more. This real-time data offers insights into a patient’s health status outside the clinical environment, enriching their profile.

Telehealth also enables the capture of patient-reported outcomes and symptoms. Through digital platforms, patients can report symptoms or complete assessments, providing real-time data to their integrated profiles. This facilitates a more patient-centered approach to care, acknowledging the patient’s own experiences of their health and well-being.


Healthcare Master Data Management with Coperor by Gaine

Coperor’s scalable master data management platform for healthcare organizations integrates data within and across organizations and their contracted partners. With master data representing an authoritative single source of truth, providers can create comprehensive patient profiles for better health outcomes.

To learn more, view this demo of Coperor in action.


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