What Healthcare Analytics Can Teach The Rest of Us
Healthcare analytics is evolving rapidly. In addition to using traditional business intelligence solutions, there is data flowing from hospital equipment, medical-grade wearables, and FitBits.
The business-related data and patient-related data, sometimes combined with outside data, enable hospitals to triage emergency care patients and treat patients more effectively, which is important. For example, in the U.S., Medicare and Medicaid are embracing "value-based care" which means hospitals are now being compensated for positive outcomes rather than on the number of services they provide, and they're docked for "excessive" readmissions. Similarly, doctors are increasingly being compensated for positive outcomes rather than the number of patients they see. In other words, analytics is more necessary than ever.
There are a couple of things the rest of us can learn from what's happening in the healthcare space, and there are some surprises that may interest you. The main message is to learn how to adapt to change, because change is inevitable. So is the rise of machine intelligence.
The Effect of the IoT
Medical devices are becoming connected devices in operating rooms and hospital rooms. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies are beginning to connect products such as inhalers to get better insight into a drug's actual use and effects, and they're experimenting with medical-grade (and typically application-specific) devices in clinical trials to reduce costs and hassles while getting better insights into a patient's physical status. Surgeons are combining analytics sometimes with telemedicine to improve the results of a surgical procedures. Slowly but surely, analytics are seeping into just about every aspect of healthcare to lower costs, increase efficiencies, and reduce patient risks in a more systematic way.
One might think devices such as FitBits are an important part of the ecosystem, and from a consumer perspective they are. Doctors are less interested in that data because it's unreliable, however. After all, it's one thing for a smartwatch to err in monitoring a person's heart rate. For a medical-grade device, faulty monitoring could lead to a heart attack and litigation.