In an effort to make healthcare services more efficient, providers are turning to data analytics as a means of uncovering new best practices. This is being led by the nation's largest hospitals, but CDW Healthcare reported that smaller organizations can still use EHR systems, online practice management tools and other platforms to uncover new data-driven policies and procedures.
When it is well-sourced and rich enough, patient-driven data can uncover trends and opportunities that give health professionals new tools to be successful. More broadly, an emphasis on advanced analytics promotes decision-making that is results-driven. Here's how data can be used in healthcare:
Improving clinical outcomes
Capturing and analyzing data offers providers new insights into patient health. EHR-driven information can uncover trends between certain behaviors or demographics and particular illnesses or ailments. Similarly, patients can be sorted by treatment type or prescription which can also highlight previously unknown connections.
Overall, when providers can capture patient data and manipulate and explore it, there is an opportunity for discovery. New correlations might promote a change in policy or reinforce the use of a certain treatment or drug. For small organizations with limited decision support infrastructure, the use of data analytics can serve to bolster policies and best practices.
Revenue cycle management
While improving patient outcomes is a key goal among every healthcare provider, data can also be used by administrators and executives to improve financial standing or make business decisions. Revenue cycle management is aided by digital supply chain monitoring and real-time inventory measures, because this data can inform more accurate purchasing and spend. Data capture also allows for more targeted billing, reimbursements and budgeting more broadly.
Health IT Consult stated that data capture and exchange can be useful when treating an out-of-network patient. This can be an expensive issue but advanced analytics can uncover advice and care plans that are more cost-efficient and successful. A physician can not only build the best possible plan of attack but also the specific costs can be outlined for a patient before he or she agrees to out-of-network treatment.
According to CDW Healthcare, a recent survey found that 82 percent of providers reported improved clinical outcomes due to data analytics. Likewise, 54 percent saw operational benefits. As healthcare costs continue to climb and providers look for opportunities to become more financially sustainable, leveraging data to make more informed decisions is proving to be a critical and effective step.
Beyond a single organization or network, data is being pooled to create even stronger correlations that in turn can inform clinical decision making and operational best practices. Through data exchanges and other partnerships, a single hospital's patient information can be pooled with others from around the country to offer much larger data sets than are usually found in a single scientific study or provider database.
This richness of data is helping drive evidence-based practices. Already the healthcare industry is attempting to use EBPs to improve accountability and standardization. This is an essential pursuit in and of itself, but greater connectivity in healthcare will only advance this mission. Findings can be fact-checked with patient data and stronger connections can be drawn. This dynamic not only highlights the best available treatment plans but can help medical professionals learn more about chronic conditions or serious disease.
An emphasis on EBPs also extends to practice management and operational success. Data analytics allows for more informed decision making, and this is key for providers looking to make a positive change. Clinical decisions can be bolstered and supported with data as can daily logistics and other considerations.