Full potential of health care data analytics yet to be realized

LH_low-resHealth care has come a long way in its use of data and analytics to improve the quality of care and better utilize resources and dollars. But the full potential of good data still has not been realized.

Electronic medical records (EMRs) opened the floodgates for collecting, managing, and leveraging patient data. A next logical step is to build better analytics within EMRs for care management and quality. Because doctors spend a good portion of their day in EMRs, requiring them to access a separate analytics platform could add to existing data entry burdens.

One solution is to connect clinical and predictive analytics to the EMR that shows physicians context-specific alerts about individuals at the point of care. These alerts can help doctors identify and act on gaps in care or immediately address risk factors.

Now imagine those alerts going directly to a physician’s smart phone or tablet. Such alerts have great potential to improve their decision making for specific patients at the moment when care is needed the most. The trick is to ensure sharing this information doesn’t contribute to information overload for the physician.

The same is true for remote monitoring technologies. Some providers are experimenting with in-house devices that can relay data about a patient in real time back to their doctors. In-home metrics may provide more realistic views into a patient’s actual health than one-time measurements taken at the physician’s office. But the analytics solution needs to be tuned so that doctors are alerted when patients need intervention.

Providers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from analytics. With today’s access to data, analytics can directly impact how patients make lifestyle improvements and participate in their ongoing care. Patients could conceivably receive alerts similar to those for physicians to educate and persuade them to make better lifestyle choices and care compliance decisions.

Better health care starts with data — real-world, “good” data that can be used to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Good data is a combination of clinical and claims information that reflects what is actually happening in health care delivery. Advanced analytics applied to good data help providers make better care decisions and understand risks.

Improving health care is about knowing what we don’t know. Analytics are the gateway to the knowledge needed to succeed in today’s value-based health care market.

To read a complete analysis of how good data makes for better health care, download the Optum white paper, “Getting from big data to good data: Creating a foundation for actionable analytics.”


About the Author:

Leslie Cozatt currently serves as Director of Marketing, Optum Provider – Thought Leadership and Content Strategy.

She directs the development of content that spotlights the role of data analytics in healthcare – specifically the transition to value-based care, risk management and population health management. She brings to her role more than 20 years of experience developing B2B and B2C integrated marketing campaigns for companies including ThreeWire, Eliance and 3M. Leslie attended the University of Minnesota and graduated from Wellington College with a BS in International Business & Communication.

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