Health analytics holds tremendous promise for the
medical industry. According
to a report by McKinsey & Company,
US healthcare were to use big data to drive efficiency and quality, it could
create $300 billion in value each year. That’s more than double the total
annual healthcare spending of some European countries!
Harnessing big data, healthcare organizations can
streamline their operations by analyzing highly detailed information on
everything from staffing to admissions to inventories. What’s more, they can
make predictions that help them facilitate positive outcomes while preventing
negative ones. The result is better decision-making and significantly improved
Although healthcare analytics holds tremendous
promise, it is still in its infancy. According to a recent Gartner report, only 5–20 percent of healthcare providers
are harnessing big data. Yet, with affordable health analytics technologies now
available from Microsoft and other vendors, that percentage will surely grow in
the next few years.
One medical provider that’s already reaping the
benefits of health analytics is Helse
a state-owned organization that’s responsible for operating some 50 healthcare
facilities in western Norway. Helse Vest deployed a business intelligence
solution based on Microsoft SQL Server and other Microsoft technologies. The
solution is used by thousands of people at Helse Vest to access and report on
more than 200 key performance indicators from a single, centralized portal.
With better information at its disposal, Helse Vest
has transformed the bottom line of its facilities from a loss of NOK455 million
(US$76 million) to a surplus of that same amount—a difference of NOK910 ($152
million). What’s more, it has reduced the average wait time for an elective
procedure by 144 days, an improvement of more than 67 percent.
The improvements won’t stop there. In the near future,
Helse Vest plans to improve efficiency even further by expanding its solution
to support comprehensive analyses of service lines and clinical pathways. “With
these analyses, we will improve our forecasting and planning as well as achieve
further efficiencies for management of patient care at the Helse Vest
facilities,” says Per Karlsen, the company’s chief financial officer.
Another company that’s capitalizing on health
analytics is Predixion
Software, which develops business analytics solutions based on
Microsoft technologies. Preventable hospital readmissions present a costly
problem for healthcare organizations. In the US alone, hospital readmissions
account for an estimated $25 billion in wasteful healthcare spending.
Predixion provides a solution that helps healthcare
providers identify, with up to 86 percent accuracy, which patients are at risk
of readmission before they leave the hospital. By knowing which patients pose
the highest risk, healthcare providers can conduct patient interventions that help
prevent unnecessary readmissions from occurring later on.
There’s no end to the creative ways in which big data
can be harnessed to improve healthcare efficiency. And with a greater number of
affordable technologies coming to market, big data is poised to play a critical
role in the future of healthcare.
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