The Role of Healthcare Analytics in Improved Patient Care
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The healthcare sector has gone through a technological revolution over recent years. This has resulted in simpler processes and efficient data management, among tons of other benefits. Increased access to real-time data and historical trends enables providers to make better decisions, ultimately improving patient care.
This paper examines the role healthcare analytics have played in enhancing service quality and patient care. Key focus areas include specific ways in which analytics have contributed to better patient care, how various analytics impact the patient experience and the possible challenges that derail efficiency in healthcare analytics.
How Does Healthcare Analytics Improve Patient Care?
The wave of technological advancement has left impressive milestones in healthcare. Data management is one of the areas that has benefited immensely from automation technology. Improved data accuracy, better monitoring and evaluation, and overall efficiency in data capturing and retrieval are some of the remarkable improvements automation has brought about.
Superior monitoring and evaluation have been made possible by tracking tools that help gather key analytics to inform crucial decisions. This has enabled healthcare providers to improve patient care, cut costs, and boost their margins.
Notable is that healthcare data has always been there. Physicians have traditionally relied on it to make essential patient decisions. However, the process of managing data manually is cumbersome and laden with inaccuracies.
Digitization of the healthcare systems marks a new dawn for healthcare providers as most of the limiting inefficiencies and errors are eliminated. For instance, following the introduction of powerful tracking tools, you can now monitor data throughout the process to gain valuable insights that can inform better performance.
Notably, healthcare analytics have improved patient care in the following ways.
- Improving Patient Outcomes Thanks to electronic health records (EHRs), physicians can access their patient’s medical histories in real-time. Access to information on past diagnosis, allergies, and treatments provides insight into a patient’s current health status. Among other things, this helps them identify high-risk patients, anticipate possible complications, and generally enhance diagnostics and patient support. Ultimately, patient outcomes are improved.
- Encouraging Patient EngagementEncouraging patient engagement is another way in which analytics have improved patient care. For instance, data synchronization has inspired innovations such as telehealth. With wearable smart devices, patients can monitor their health (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) from the comfort of their homes, with real-time record updating. Afterward, physicians analyze the records to provide feedback.The best thing about patient participation is that it has a psychological effect on the patients, as they may tend to pay attention to their lifestyle hence achieve healthier lives.
- Reducing Disease RiskPredictive analytics (use of historical data to predict future outcomes) has grown in popularity among healthcare providers, with most of them utilizing it to improve patient outcomes. One of the major benefits of predictive analytics in healthcare is that it helps in reducing disease risk.Through centralized patient data storage, physicians can pick signs of chronic disease development and address them early. Also, increased patient participation allows both medics and patients to closely monitor lifestyle changes that may put them at risk of developing certain diseases. With the use of smart devices in telehealth, as mentioned above, the patients can proactively take care of their health and minimize the risk of disease development.
Again, thanks to the consolidated data, health care providers can predict chronic disease prevalence among patients and set aside funds for early intervention and preventive measures. Generally, chronic disease treatment is one of the most expensive expenditures for hospitals. Hence, the data comes in handy not only in improving patient care but cutting costs.
- Reducing Patient Costs Thanks to the availability of comprehensive patient data, healthcare providers are constantly stepping up how they treat and monitor patients, leading to the inception of more cost-cutting strategies. For instance, through close monitoring of a patient’s data, a physician can predict the type of care they need and whether hospitalization is necessary or not. Eliminating unnecessary care helps reduce patient costs without compromising on the patient’s health.Again, the analytics give a clear view of the cost of treating diseases, especially the chronic ones, which motivates healthcare providers to step up disease prevention campaigns. In return, the masses can make educated lifestyle changes, thereby reducing disease prevalence. This reflects positively on the hospitals by reducing chronic disease treatment costs.
- Evaluating Practitioner PerformanceAnalytics has made it possible to track practitioner performance with enhanced accuracy. For example, by studying patient data, you can evaluate physicians’ performance based on parameters such as patient wellness. Aggregating this with other performance indicators, such as professionalism and interpersonal skills, provides a fool-proof strategy for evaluating practitioners. Effectively, this encourages competitiveness and increases efficiency, ultimately leading to improved patient care.
- Improving After-procedure Care QualityLastly, as analytics allow healthcare providers to analyze large quantities of similar data, they can improve their after-procedure care quality, especially in areas that have flopped before. By analyzing previous cases, they can track treatment trends for cases that had complications and those that didn’t. This way, they can eliminate medical procedures that could potentially lead to complications and adopt the safer methods.
Possible Challenges of Integrating Healthcare Analytics
- Fragmented data Healthcare data comes from many sources. Electronic health records (EHRs), health information exchange (HIE), personal health records (PHRs), etc., are some platforms that collect patient data from different healthcare providers. As much as guaranteeing data integrity is emphasized across the board, you cannot control every data source. For this reason, fragmented data is an apparent hindrance to patient care efficiency.
- Redundant dataPatient and physician detail changes, phasing out and replacing old medication, health facility ownership changes are all possible challenges that may render data redundant. This brings about another complex situation – data cleaning. While there are automated data cleaning solutions, getting cooperation from all the source data units is quite a challenge.
- Data security threatsCybersecurity threats are an ever-present risk in every industry, especially with the proliferation of ransomware and other security breaches. Despite HIPPA’s strict security regulations that safeguard protected health information (PHI), it takes a small error or simple oversight to have your security breached. In addition to following HIPPA’s guidelines for protecting patient data, healthcare providers must be more vigilant to guarantee online security.
4 Key Takeaways
- Healthcare analytics allow better data management by providing real-time statistics, which help providers in crucial decision-making.
- Analytics is a powerful data tracking tool that empowers healthcare providers to streamline their operations for improved efficiency and patient care.
- The various types of analytics – descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive – allow healthcare providers to monitor patient journeys for process optimization insights.
- Integrating healthcare analytics can be challenging, especially where there are data inaccuracy and threats. However, you can overcome this by stepping up your data management and enhancing security.