Healthcare Analytics and Big Data are huge topics right now in the healthcare industry. Sure – they have some benefits, but getting on board is time-consuming, costly, and not without obstacles.
Doctors and nurses at every level have to take time out of their busy schedules to learn new systems, new languages and convert old data over to such systems and languages. Non-medical personnel have to learn the same things, and often more are hired to take on the burden. So, what’s the point of all this?
There are many benefits of getting on board with electronic medical records and other digital forms of storing healthcare data. To start with, it’s 2015 and everything else is online, so why isn’t the healthcare industry? Virtually every other industry records their data digitally, and healthcare is late to this game.
But, other than just “keeping up with the Joneses,” digital healthcare can actually bring each and every healthcare employee, hospital, practice, and patient many benefits.
Patients often see many doctors to try to get a diagnosis or treatment for an ailment. Maybe a primary care physician was the first visit, but then the patient has to go to a few specialists after that. Wouldn’t it be great if every symptom, conversation, and treatment for these visits were recorded in the same place?
Same for doctors. Why waste time and resources re-examining something that another doctor has already tested and looked at?
Once all the data is stored in one place, we can get even more out of analyzing such healthcare data. Healthcare analytics can improve population health as a whole – making virtually every aspect of our healthcare system run more efficiently and with more cost savings.
With healthcare analyses we get from recorded data, we can map out where diseases and viruses are more prevalent, and where they might not be being treated effectively.
For example, healthcare organizations can map out where there are high populations of women over 40, and over that, map out how many breast cancer screenings are happening in those areas. Maybe there’s an area well populated by such women, but that is lacking in breast cancer screenings. That’s a perfect place to set up a new mobile breast cancer screening site!
Another location-based situation where healthcare analytics is useful is with coordinating emergency medical response teams. They can map out when and from where most calls come in, and have teams closer and ready to go in those areas at those specific times, shortening the amount of time people have to wait for help to arrive.
Healthcare analytics can help avoid keeping people in hospital beds for too long, or, alternately, sending them home too early. They can look at historical data and compare current cases with past cases with a simple search. This type of evidence-based medicine can vastly improve patient outcomes.
The digitization of healthcare data and use of healthcare analytics helps the healthcare industry in many ways. It’s not something to move into without much thought either though. Healthcare organizations need to consider these cornerstones for success. Then, research and adopt a model that works for them. Eventually, the whole industry will see the benefits to having implemented and used healthcare analytics systems.