Healthcare systems face many challenges, as they work to meet patients’ needs while keeping costs affordable. Fortunately, the use of data can help organizations approach both of these issues more strategically.
Not only can it help providers notice patterns within specific demographics but it can also ensure those patterns are used to create more streamlined approaches to value-based care. Providers can put data to use when “determining the most effective ways to utilize resources” and “making decisions every day that can impact health outcomes and costs.”
There’s no doubt that data analytics professionals with experience in healthcare can support unlocking organizational data and deliver a smooth transition to value-based care. From day-to-day decision-making to evidence-based decisions guiding patient care, maximizing the use and management of robust data is key in winning the fight against low performance and patient satisfaction.
Let’s take a look at the impact it has – and will continue to have – in improving outcomes and the patient experience.
Data collection 101
Collecting diverse healthcare data generated allows for providers to better communicate with patients while also deepening their insights as to patients’ health conditions and challenges. Gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information from various sources paints a fuller picture for providers and allows them to build a foundation for more precise and impactful decision-making.
For instance, helpful data can be often collected from:
- social and community determinants of health
- claims data
- genomic and pharmaceutical sources
- electronic healthcare records
- patient surveys
- patient summaries
- clinical trials
- virtual care/telemedicine mobile apps
Each of these sources can produce a wide range of specific information, and each new piece of data can “add a new dimension to the detailed tapestry of a patient’s health.” While all data is not always accessible nor created equal, providers with data investments in action can improve their population health initiatives with thorough and diverse data-gathering efforts.
Data is of course crucial in determining how to treat patients who are already ill, but it also plays another essential function in care: helping to identify risk factors for preventive care. Preventing disease is a pillar of managing public health. Identifying trends can help providers talk to their patients about preventive measures such as disease prevention, early disease detection, risk factor reduction, and complication management.
It’s important to consider how access to health data can impact preventive services. Increased access to technology tools such as reminders and virtual care apps reduces disease risk and supports patients in improving their health choices. It’s also important to consider the impact a strong preventive care strategy – as supported by robust data – can have on healthcare. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), “missed prevention opportunities cost the United States $55 billion every year, and an estimate of 30 cents on every healthcare dollar.”
Patient and industry benefits
Of course using data to identify trends can help improve overall patient care. The hope is that better care means quality treatment, improved recovery rates, and preventing specific health issues. Using data certainly has a patient-centered focus, but it can benefit the healthcare industry as well.
Data allows healthcare systems to identify more targeted treatments, which ultimately lead to a reduced overall cost of care. Spending would be less efficient on systems or treatments that simply don’t work for a patient demographic. Leveraging data both drives digital transformation and empowers organizations to make informed and connected decisions in areas other than patient care such as:
- managing time and operations
- optimizing business outcomes
- understanding how claims data impacts clinical performance indicators
- moving the needle toward interoperability
- elevating the reputation and marketability of organizations
- enhancing productivity
Importance of managing data
Data is a highly valuable resources in clinical, operational, and financial terms, but it’s only useful if it is appropriately managed. Growing your team to include data experts is increasingly vital in the healthcare industry, as it ensures organizations’ preparedness to make high impact decisions on all terms while optimizing profitability and improving efficiencies from end to end.
Without proper teams in place to manage data and technologies, providers lose out on the specific experience needed to enable support of high performance results in the ever-evolving industry. Data is often “unstructured and all data is difficult to access and analyze” within the industry, so experts who know how to “assemble meaningful stories from fragmented, heterogeneous data” are crucial to stakeholders.
Future of data in healthcare
The wealth of information captured can certainly be used to better serve patients, inform and preserve public health, and allow providers a better-streamlined approach to offering affordable care. There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight for the industry’s need to evolve its approach to managing this information.
In turn, there is not an end in sight to the need for experts who cultivate organizations’ abilities to enhance productivity and improve healthcare outcomes and to do so in a way that positions “payers, providers, and vendors for success in a highly competitive environment.”
Putting the right experts and data investments in action secures actionable insights for your organization today. Team Harmony is primed to deliver consultants who can do just that.