Data Analytics: Helping Healthcare Evolve

Data is increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. All industries are adopting data analytics in order to find more efficient methods for operations. This is particularly true in the healthcare sector, where there is a lot of room for improvement, and also a lot of potentially useful data. These are a few ways data analytics is helping healthcare evolve.

Nurse analyzing healthcare data

A Wealth of Data Leads to a Wealth of Innovations

You need to have data in order to get something valuable out of analytics. There are some industries that struggles more than others in quantifying things. This, fortunately, isn’t an issue for the healthcare world.

There are nearly limitless applications for data analytics in healthcare due to the sheer volume of ways numbers play a role in this sector. Think about just the vast swaths of data that can be collected from patient vitals within hospital networks. The introduction of more device connectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), is going to open up whole new worlds for analytics in healthcare. Harnessing all this information is going to yield incredible results for patients and practitioners alike.

Similarly, the increasing popularity of wearable devices, such as the Apple watch, is driving an unexpected data revolution in healthcare. Wearable technology is one of the best ways to keep track of the health of patients when they’re not under doctor supervision. And it’s leading to better care for people who are choosing to use these devices.

However, the benefits of wearable technology don’t end with the individual patient. There are also overarching effects to all this data being collected from everyone’s wearables. By collection so much real-time information, it’s now possible to gain insights that previously would have been completely invisible to researchers. Implementing artificial intelligence programs to help organize these massive pools of data is showing deep patterns, which will eventually lead researchers to novel solutions.

More Efficient Scheduling and Administrative Functions

People in the healthcare world know that there are underlying issues with scheduling and administration. Shortages of healthcare professionals make these issues even more pronounced. Fortunately, healthcare analytics is providing solutions for these engrained industry-wide problems. Almost all nurse managers agree that analytics for scheduling purposes is something that could help them in their work. These technology solutions are currently available to hospital staffs. Widespread adoption will certainly take a huge burden off nurse managers.

Administrative functions related to payroll and other repetitive tasks can also be made much more efficient by implementing analytics. Some software will make the process so streamlined, it will more or less function on its own. Analytics can also aid doctors from an administrative standpoint. Some practitioners report that two-thirds of their time is spent on paperwork. Reducing this administrative load will help alleviate a lot of stress from the healthcare system.

Better Predictive Care

As data becomes more widely used in the healthcare world, we’re seeing major benefits on the predictive care front. Data is often best leveraged for making predictions about the future. This is because identifying patterns is extremely effective in showing how things might happen again. Collecting patient data can greatly reduce the incidence of hospital readmissions.

Certain events—like a C. difficile infection—greatly impacts the likelihood of a readmission within 30 days. Not only is this bad for the physical and emotional health of the patient, it’s financially bad for the hospital as well. Limiting secondary issues through better predictive care is one of the best applications for data in healthcare.

Greater Efficiency Reduces Costs

Everyone knows that the cost of healthcare is a huge issue in the United States. Possibly the best evidence for this is the fact that medical bills are typically cited at the top cause for personal bankruptcies. Data analytics is all about increasing system efficiency. When done well, this will in turn lower costs for healthcare operations, which will then be passed onto patients in the form of lower bills.

Data analytics is changing the world. This is extremely obvious when you look at the role it’s playing in the evolution of healthcare.

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