How Analytics Helps Doctors

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One of the areas where analytics and business intelligence hold tremendous potential is health care. Unlike the financial or telecommunications sector, individual records in the healthcare sector are still in non-digital form like paper.  This effectively means that the telecom history of a customer or a financial spend and purchase behavior of the average citizen in the USA (the largest economy) is tracked much better than the medical history of a patient. The traditional paradigms of unstructured data in multiple formats and multiple sources further lead to a paradox in which medical technology is extremely sophisticated but medical records are using elementary data technology.

Imagine a scenario in the near future where your cell phone will make periodic reminders to get you ready for your monthly check-up with your doctor, your daily exercise, calorie intake and carry your secure electronic health record.

When you visit your doctor, a simple tap of the phone will show the doctor your entire medical history, including allergies, records of hospitalization and medication taken in the past. Your electronic history will include any scans and tests done in the past. The doctor will not be alone in examining you. It will have a robotic nurse (RN) who will assist him in asking the questions and interpreting your responses for an accurate diagnosis.

Hospitalization for you in the future will be minimised as possible. Your electronic records and health history would emphasize both the correct frequency of periodic preventive check-ups as well as optimized medical tests by clinical decision systems.

Do you think this is far-fetched science fiction? Well, no, thanks to some on the initiatives taking place in the world of analytics and health care, the world of health care might be becoming more efficient in the very near future.

The most advanced (and most expensive) health care market is the United States of America. It is also the hub for analytics software development. Increasingly there is a need to cut down on health care expenses without cutting down on patient care. There have been two legislations that are trying to push through more systematic decision making in health care. These are American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH).

Hospitals and clinics are integrating Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) within their data processing and storage systems. EMR promises to reduce by 10-15 per cent USA’s $1.7 trillion a year healthcare bill. This is because it is estimated that 60 per cent of hospital records are still on paper and only 15 per cent of clinical data stored in digital format. The size of the EMR digitization market is also expected to generate lots of jobs as well as revenues for service providers.

Hospitals using Analytics are able to monitor specific metrics that are essential for understanding how to improve health care. These metrics include Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR) ,Hand hygiene compliance, Patient satisfaction and Wait times.

The pharmaceutical sector has been a traditional user of analytics including for testing new drugs, forecasting sales and monitoring effectiveness. With the advent of analytics for healthcare providers and patients, this is the next step to make people healthier and at a lower cost.

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