The healthcare industry is rapidly embracing business intelligence (BI) and data analytics to improve patient care and track trends for medical research. Healthcare BI allows for healthcare providers to adapt their policies to ensure that reimbursements, delivery of care and performance of various staff all align to produce better outcomes for everybody involved.
Many healthcare providers may still be intimidated by healthcare BI and the market for these services are still relatively niche, but there are many trends that are rapidly developing into actionable insights using high-performance tools.
Trend #1: Information integration and consolidation.
One of the key functions of healthcare BI is to effectively use information to generate strategies for moving forward. The chief obstacle to this is the lack of data integration and co-ordination where financial, patient and clinical care data are kept completely separately, and inconsistencies and data quality problems are rife. There is a rising need for reports that combine all the relevant data, driving integration and consolidation of data into integrated data models, which subsequently breaks down the divide between payers and providers. More and more, data interests of providers and payers are converging, with payers wanting their clinical data in addition to their claims data. Master data management software is rapidly adapting to meet the healthcare BI needs of providers and will need to be able to consolidate document relationships between multiple providers, patients and payers.
Trend #2: Healthcare providers are discovering the value of analytics.
The healthcare insurance industry has been using analytics to better understand risk, detect fraud and improve liability underwriting for a number of years now, with healthcare providers lagging behind. This is mainly due to the lack of good usable data and the lack of a data analysis infrastructure, but this is also changing. Providers, in partnership with payers are starting to employ the healthcare BI technique of analytics to understand how they spread and allocate cost and analyze risk. The use of pattern analysis by providers will enable them to enable doctors to discover trends in treatments, allowing for more up to date treatments and improved care based on analytical data.
Trend #3: The use of self-service data discovery tools.
One of the largest growing trends in healthcare BI at the moment is the idea of self-service data discovery where providers discover what they do not know, allowing for iterative exploration of new strategies. Healthcare BI tools are emerging that allow for deep analysis of data relationships, correlations and the use of more internal and external data sources which provide novel insights into patient care and cost management. This type of very hardware intensive analysis is made possible on modern servers with parallel processing architectures, which healthcare providers have already been using to run their discovery applications and IT resources.
Trend #4: Data visualization allows for nontechnical users to understand information.
One of the largest hurdles to any healthcare BI analyst is how to present data in a powerful and significant manner. Many healthcare provider staff, such as nurses and doctors, are not equipped to understand the raw data analytics being performed, despite their need for this information to correctly conduct patient care and resource management. Visual dashboards found in most healthcare BI software systems can make this data easier to grasp in the form of infographics and charts. This allows every person involved in a patient's care to have the same objectives and will lead to improved coordination and more efficient healthcare practice.
Many healthcare providers are embracing the methods of data analysis that is offered by BI to provide better care for their patients and better resource management for the entire organization.Photo credit: Damon Sacks / Foter / CC BY-ND