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Healthcare Business Intelligence

Ron Stephenson

Recent Posts

Dealing with Dirty Data

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Sep 2, 2016 12:30:00 PM



The use of analytics in healthcare is on the rise with the emergence of big data, but it requires accurate and complete data. According to research firm TDWI, many businesses have issues with the quality of their data because it is incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate and inconsistent. These errors are often due to user mistakes including duplicate entries, misspelling, wrong punctuation and missing information. This “dirty data” decreases the ability of healthcare organizations to utilize business intelligence and analytics platforms to accurately analyze data and measure results.

Though dirty data is common due to misleading, non-integrated and invalid data, healthcare organizations are especially plagued by it because of a lack of standardized product information. Dirty data in healthcare also is generated by a lack of generalized formatting, problems incurred during data migration processes, overlaps and overlays and even identity fraud, resulting in unreliable data and a reduced quality of patient care.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Hadoop for the Healthcare Industry

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Aug 30, 2016 12:30:00 PM



There are some unusual terms used in the healthcare industry, but “Hadoop” may be near the top. As a big data framework, Hadoop distributes enormous amount of data collections across multiple nodes within a cluster of commodity servers. It provides immense data storage and doesn’t require the purchase of any costly custom hardware.

Healthcare providers are increasingly utilizing Hadoop to improve patient care and increase efficiency through personalized treatment planning, fraud detection, genome processing, DNA sequencing and monitoring of patient vital signs. Following are some ways Hadoop benefits the healthcare industry:

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Five Examples of Innovative Healthcare Technology at Work

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Aug 29, 2016 12:30:00 PM



Healthcare providers across the United States implement and utilize many different kinds of technology to optimize their clinical, operational and financial performance. Following are five hospitals that have used innovative technology to improve patient care and save money.

Saint Mary's Hospital - Waterbury, Connecticut

Saint Mary’s began utilizing analytics and hosting its workforce management application in the cloud to accurately monitor whether or not its nursing staff was scheduled efficiently or working unnecessary overtime.  The hospital not only improved patient care but also saved $650 thousand through the move.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

RTLS Technology: Real-time Benefits for Healthcare

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Aug 25, 2016 12:30:00 PM



According to a KLAS report titled “Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) 2016: Who Can Deliver Value Beyond the Basics,” many healthcare providers want to use RTLS to improve quality of patient care and increase staff efficiency and revenue in addition to tracking assets. Newer RTLS technology has the capability to monitor patients, improve patient flow and monitor workflow processes along with the typical function of tracking equipment and inventory. Consider the following statistics:

  • The market for RTLS healthcare technologies is estimated to reach over $2 Billion by 2020.
  • The RTLS healthcare market generated revenue of $717.8 million in 2015 and is estimated to grow at 19.2 percent through 2021. 
  • The global RTLS market is poised to grow around 30.9 percent over the next decade to approximately $15 billion by 2025.
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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Three Reasons Healthcare is So Expensive in the United States

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jul 28, 2016 12:30:00 PM



There is no way around it: healthcare in the United States is expensive. The U.S. is ranked #1 in terms of total health expenditure per capita, but is 37th out of 191 countries according to its performance. According to Consumer Reports, if the United States’ $3 trillion healthcare sector was ranked as its own country, it would be the world’s fifth largest economy.

Although healthcare organizations are trying to reduce their cost of operations and pass those savings onto patients through the use of big data and healthcare analytics, issues that contribute to the high cost of healthcare in this country include greater use of advanced technology, administrative and drug costs and defensive medicine. In addition, the pricing of medical care isn’t transparent, so most consumers don’t know exactly what they’re paying for when healthcare services are provided.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Understanding Unstructured Data (Part Two)

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jul 13, 2016 12:30:00 PM



In a previous blog, I wrote about unstructured data in the healthcare industry and EHR systems. Unstructured data can consist of explanations of benefits, audio voice dictations, handwritten and typewritten notes, diagnostic images, e-mail messages and attachments, text messages, medical claims and more. Although it can sometimes be hard to access programmatically, unstructured data often includes information that is a valuable part of a patient’s medical record and clinical history.

Again, by being able to analyze unstructured data along with its structured counterpart, clinicians can provide a more complete picture of a patient’s history, diagnosis, treatment and outcome. It can help maintain data consistency, allow for combined qualitative and quantitative data and can  be highly valuable when used in a research capacity.

When properly captured into a data structure or application, unstructured data can be effectively utilized through:

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Understanding Unstructured Data (Part One)

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jul 12, 2016 12:30:00 PM



According to analysts from Merrill Lynch, Gartner and IBM, unstructured data accounts for approximately 80 percent of the data in business organizations. Similarly, the Health Story Project estimates that 1.2 billion clinical documents are produced in the U.S. each year with about 60 percent containing valuable patient care information in an unstructured format.

So what exactly is unstructured data? It’s the kind of data that usually has to be captured, read and analyzed by a person instead of a machine and is stored as free text, making it difficult for processing by a computer. In the healthcare industry, unstructured data includes explanations of benefits, audio voice dictations, handwritten and typewritten notes, diagnostic images, e-mail messages and attachments, text messages, medical claims and more. Radiology reports are responsible for a vast amount of unstructured data.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Utilizing Technology to Achieve Improved Quality of Care

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jul 7, 2016 12:30:00 PM



Healthcare providers across the country are continually focused on quality improvement. The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration defines quality improvement as systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in healthcare services and the overall health of targeted patient groups. Furthermore, U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration defines quality improvement as systematic and continuous actions that lead to measurable improvement in healthcare services and the overall health of targeted patient groups's a direct correlation between the level of improved health services and the desired health outcomes of individuals and populations.

The National Quality Forum (NQF) notes that studies have indicated that American adults receive recommended care only about 55 percent of the time and that 30 percent of healthcare spending is wasteful and produces no value to the patient. The organization highlights the four key principles of a successful quality improvement program as QI work as systems and processes, focus on patients, focus on being part of the team and focus on use of the data.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

Cybersecurity in Healthcare

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jul 6, 2016 12:30:00 PM



The use of technology in healthcare has produced many benefits, but it also presents some risks. One of the biggest risks healthcare organizations face using technology to gather patient data is a data breach. Five of the eight largest healthcare cybersecurity breaches since 2010 occurred in 2015, making healthcare the top industry for cyberattacks. 

So what can be done to prevent security breaches in healthcare? Many healthcare organizations are looking to cybersecurity to help protect their data. Cybersecurity is the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data or the measures taken to achieve this. The United States government passed the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 to give companies the ability to share cybersecurity information with federal agencies while providing liability protection and antitrust exemption for those sharing information.

The State of Cybersecurity in Healthcare Organizations in 2016” report released by ESET® noted that only half of healthcare organizations have an incident response plan in place in the case of a data breach, even though the healthcare industry experiences at least one cyberattack per month. According to the PwC Health Research Institute, preventive cybersecurity costs approximately $8 per patient record, while the estimated cost of a major breach is $200 per record.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

How Healthcare Analytics Can Boost Operating Room Efficiency

Posted by Ron Stephenson

Jun 30, 2016 12:30:00 PM



Consider the following statistics from Becker's ASC Review:

  • The total operating expenses per operating room (OR) is $1.2 million.
  • 765 cases are performed per OR annually, with 4.6 cases per day.
  • Median operating room time per patient encounter is 50.2 minutes. 

It should not be a surprise that many hospital ORs do not operate at the highest level of efficiency. Producing the desired outcomes with minimum waste of time, effort and skill is often the biggest challenge perioperative service areas face in the hospital. Surgeons, nurses and staff are busy tending to patients and have to coordinate with other physicians and clinicians to schedule time in the OR. Hospital administrators and leadership are often looking for ways to improve efficiency and increase revenue through their organization’s ORs. Just as healthcare analytics bring focused data to other areas of a healthcare organization, they can (and should), be applied to optimize performance in the OR.

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Topics: Healthcare Analytics

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