A few days ago, the Human Health Services’ (HHS) Office of Inspector General released a report highlighting the 10 biggest management and performance challenges the healthcare industry is facing, and yet again, EHRs and health IT have made it to the list. Healthcare is complex and the challenges we face today might take years to overcome, in the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care, data analytics has a huge role to play as the building block of the healthcare industry.
Data Analytics has efficiently empowered healthcare organizations to thrive in a value-based world, and is not limited to:
1.) Real-time access to patient’s data
Imagine having sorted, structured data easily accessible to physicians – this could be a game changer and save a lot of time simultaneously improving health outcomes. According to a post, many Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) see their patients at an interval of 11-15 minutes. With quick access to patients’ data like medical records, clinicians can rely on actionable insights generated after advanced analytics, and research data to treat their patients.
A healthcare system based in Washington was facing the challenge of limited access to data. The process they had for obtaining patient information required them to submit a request to the department overlooking information, and after their request was processed it would present a thoroughly checked and validated data which could take two days or even stretch out to as much as a month. By using an analytics application to access real-time data, the wait time for information was reduced by 75-100%.
2.) Data-Driven Decision Making
The traditional obstacles of compiling and analyzing data persist even with advancing technology. EHR systems are now widespread than they were in the past, with health IT providing interoperability, bigger chunks of data is processed making it convenient for providers to have all of the patient’s vital information compiled into a single record that helps drive improvements with accurate data. The aim is to share data easily.
- Many providers have reported significant improvements in quality metrics after adopting health IT.
- As of 2014, about 82.8% of office-based physicians have adopted EHRs, and since 2008, this number has been nearly doubled – from 42% to 83%.
- The HITECH Act of 2009 grants $19.2 billion to increase the use of EHRs by physicians and hospitals.
3.) Better Care Coordination
Data is integral to managing population health, imperative to improving population health and health outcomes. Hospitals are now turning towards data analytics to leverage the massive data and create effective treatment plans. Upcoming payment reforms and the shift to value-based care are serving as the bedrock to the healthcare paradigm shift. A Texas-based health system incorporated analytic tools and saw huge improvements:
- Depression screenings saw a dramatic increase by 600%.
- A 75% increment in blood-pressure screenings.
- More than 700 patient visits were reduced, owing to analytics-empowered nursing.
- Even though 900 patients every day are managed on an average, clinicians are able to examine the patients through their data and make a well-informed decision.
Analysis of data only takes one so far, after this comes the proper management of data, and the insight to make sense of it to make population health management truly successful.
4.) Improving Quality of Health Care
Measuring data with all the quality metrics seems like a daunting task, and many providers are now adopting analytics tool to not only measure data, but to simplify the task of structuring data well enough for reporting. Lots of analytics tools being developed are now equipped with:
- Analyzing data requirements for pre-defined quality measures
- Providing initial data assessment and structuring it
- Calculating quality metrics and payment adjustments
- Tracking current performance and improving on it through advanced analytics
- Providing considerable insight into population health
By using health information exchange, a value-focused organization was successful in reducing total office visits by 26.2% and increasing the number of scheduled telephone visits to the hospital by eight times!
5.) Making Way for Further Innovations
Health IT has created room for innovation and focused development in healthcare, with healthcare companies inspired to adopt advanced technology, the focus is to develop something that makes the healthcare industry future-proof and focused on quality care. Some examples of innovations in the healthcare space.
- A San Francisco-based company focused on asthma uses a GPS-enabled tracker in inhalers, that uses their location, analyzes the potential catalysts and provides them with personalized treatment plans.
- A Silicon Valley-based company has created customizable ACO dashboards, which help providers improve their performance in healthcare services delivery using their claims data and aligning it with their goals.
As the healthcare industry moves from fee-for-services to fee-for-value, much has been done to gain the momentum, but to sustain it and grow with it demands healthcare members to tap the massive potential of data analytics. It can transform the current landscape of healthcare, and the future is dotted with several possibilities. Data analytics is still at a relatively early stage of development, but the rate at which advancements are going on, a revolution is underway. It could be the best thing since sliced bread.
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