Data Analytics Improving Health Care

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Data analytics may be the key to improving operating efficiency, contain costs, and ensure quality care. The adoption of business intelligence and data...

Data analytics may be the key to improving operating efficiency, contain costs, and ensure quality care. The adoption of business intelligence and data analytics has been commonly accepted by CIO’s in a variety of industries, but the healthcare industry is still far behind in the acceptance of data analytics. Hospitals generally lack the appropriate resources needed to help turn clinical data into insight. The use of advanced data analytics in US hospitals was only at a 10 per cent adoption rate in 2011.

In the next five years, the used of advanced health data analytics is expected to significantly increase, according to a report Frost & Sullivan, conducted by the US Hospital Health Data Analytics Market with an estimated adoption rate of at least 50 per cent expect by 2016. With the increased use of EHR’s, data analytics seems like the next logical step in technological advancements in the healthcare industry.

The use of data analytics will positively affect every aspect of operations in a hospital. They will prove their value in analyzing revenue, operational efficiency, and staff performance. Advanced tools provide progressive real-time and predictive techniques, often provided by web-based systems that combined unrelated data across diverse care settings.

Among the varied uses for an advanced analytics tool, many care providers use analytics to identify who is at risk of a hospital admission.  Richard Merkin, president and chief executive of Heritage Provider Network says,

"Hospitalizations are very expensive and cost this country a lot of the resources we're using in health care. Imagine if you could effectively predict who was going to be hospitalized. You could reallocate resources to prevent unnecessary hospitalization and put those resources to use for cure rather than care." Heritage is currently sponsoring a competition to figure out the best algorithm to identify which patients are likely to be sent to a hospital within the next year, based on patient data. The contest ends April 2013 and the winner will get a handsome $3 million prize.

Heritage is not the only company exploring the use of data analytics tools to better patient care and to reduce overall costs. Health Management Associates, Inc. is working with partners on predicting readmission across the 70 hospitals they operate in the US. Looking for patterns in their own patient and operational data they are able to rank the likelihood of readmission. Additionally, they are trying to predict the demand for services, to help better hospitals with staffing levels.

The use of analytics will help health care providers offer more efficient preventive care. "There's a huge amount of waste in the system," says Dr. Nease, the Express Scripts chief scientist. "Advanced analytics allows you to be much more sophisticated in where you intervene and with what."

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