Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 21, 2013

Report Uncovers Huge Business Opportunities in Healthcare Data Analytics

The Institute of Health Technology Transformation has issued a report stating that data analytics is critical to both population-wide healthcare management and accountable care organizations (ACO).

According to the report, 80 percent of electronic health data that doctors collect is currently unstructured. Only 33 percent of healthcare organizations utilize tools for business intelligence, and only 30 percent use clinical data warehousing or mining.

The disparity between the need for data analytics and the number of clinicians that are using them effectively provides a huge opportunity for healthcare IT businesses.

The Institute made a series of recommendations at the end of the report, and businesses can easily step in to develop and market solutions. For instance, the Institute recommended that clinics and hospitals construct a data warehouse to serve as the single source of information for the organization.

The report also recommended that hospitals and clinics integrate both claims and administrative data with medical information from patient EMRs. The integration will provide a more complete view of patient care while helping organizations transition from episode-based care to patient and population-based analysis.

The McKinsey Global Institute stated that the U.S. healthcare system could save between $300 billion and $450 billion by using data analytics. The U.S. spent $9,000 per person on healthcare in 2012, more than any other country in the world.

John McDaniel, NetApp's practice leader for the U.S. healthcare provider market, has identified four key ways that data analytics will help the healthcare system improve services. First, he says that managing unstructured data has to become a priority. Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) help with image sharing, but more work has to be done.

Second, McDaniel says that data analytics could usher in an era of predictive medicine. For instance, population tracking could reveal lifestyle and genetic markers for certain diseases, which could help doctors to avoid serving up one-size-fits-all therapies for diseases like cancer.

Another advantage of data analytics could be wellness maintenance. For example, people with big-ticket diseases like dementia or diabetes could receive targeted wellness alert messages. Finally, "just-in-time" medicine would allow hospitals to better determine discharge dates for patients, reducing the number of readmits.

Overall, data analytics products and services could revolutionize healthcare delivery. They could also line the pockets of companies smart enough to invest in the technology.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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