As the collection of hospital data piles up, hospital financial executives are faced with the complex challenge of organizing, analyzing, and using this information. Adding to the existing whirlwind of cataclysmic issues in healthcare – the time has come for hospital revenue cycle managers to transform this data into strategic actions to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. We review medical predictive analytics and how it relates to healthcare processes and outcomes.
Predictive analytics is not reinventing the wheel. It’s applying what doctors have been doing on a larger scale.
What is Medical Predictive Analytics?
The use of statistical methods and technology in healthcare to search, inform, and analyze massive amounts of data and information in order to predict patient outcomes is known as predictive analytics (PA). Data mining, modeling, statistics, and machine learning can all be used to make predictions from the collected information.
Linda A. Winters-Miner Ph.D. discusses healthcare predictive analytics in an article entitled, “Seven Ways Predictive Analytics can Improve Healthcare.” She explains the information comes from a variety of sources, including data from the outcomes of past treatments and current medical research published in databases and peer-reviewed journals. The sub-heading of her article reads:
“Medical predictive analytics have the potential to revolutionize healthcare around the world”
Predictive Analytics is Not an Entirely New Concept to Healthcare
Vennie Ramesh, chief technology officer and co-founder of Wellframe explains that predictive analytics is not an entirely new concept for the healthcare industry, “Predictive analytics is not reinventing the wheel. It’s applying what doctors have been doing on a larger scale. What’s changed is our ability to better measure, aggregate, and make sense of previously hard-to-obtain or non-existent behavioral, psychosocial, and biometric data.”
Ramesh explains how the combination of new datasets with the science of clinical medicine and epidemiology opens a door for healthcare professionals to “accelerate progress in understanding the relationships between external factors and human biology—ultimately resulting in the enhanced re-engineering of clinical pathways and truly personalized care.”
Can Predictive Analytics Help Hospitals Perform Better?
Spotting trends in healthcare-use patterns by using predictive analytics can help hospitals address recurring operational issues such as staffing needs and avoidable readmissions according to an article in Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN). The article suggests that any healthcare business looking to implement medical predictive analytics should follow advice from others that have already dove into the world of PA. Facilities that are using predictive analytics suggest the first step should be to take accurate account of your organization’s current state. The following excerpt is from the article:
“With the near universal adoption of electronic health records, large hospitals and health systems have begun to recognize something that consumer retailers have relied on for more than a decade: With the right analytics, data can predict the future and help organizations get out in front of consumer trends. In the context of health care, predictive analytics systems are being used, for instance, to understand which patients are at higher risk for hospital readmission, to reduce hospital stays after joint replacement and to anticipate staffing needs while reducing overtime.”
The past decade of healthcare has been a whirlwind of changes that have introduced new challenges to physicians, hospital financial leaders, administrators, and others who work in the hospital administration sector. Among the slew of changes includes the introduction of electronic health records (EHRs). Following the implementation of electronic health charting came the introduction of computerized physician order entry (CPOE).
As the administrative work for physicians has piled up, many have been left scrambling to focus on their most important task at hand – providing outstanding patient care. Because cost containment and marginal pressure have become the operational conditions of the current healthcare industry – an article in HIT Consultant explains that healthcare is now forced to operate as a business. The challenge then becomes how to make use of the mountains of available data in a meaningful way to improve financial performance and provide the highest quality of care possible.
Hospital revenue cycle management experts promote medical predictive analytics as the newest solution to translating massive loads of health data into actionable insight to improve financial performance. Modern analytics software solutions offer healthcare professionals methods to apply this data in ways that improve financial performance, similar to how other industries have been doing for decades. Leaders can be empowered to make smarter decisions through predictive analytics. These changes come in the form of testing scenarios to updating policies or even major strategic moves.
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- Overcoming Barriers to Predictive Insights:
- HIT Leaders Discuss Progress & Opportunities
Analytics enables advance forecasting, allowing us to predict who is going to show up in the emergency department, giving several days advanced warning of impending census crunches, and allowing surge planning to be fully activated in time. Advanced forecasting can also predict which patients will be ready for discharge, even before case managers, social workers, charge nurses and hospitalists have flagged them. -Thought Leaders at HIT Consultant
Analytics Tailored to Your Business Needs
Senior product manager, Will Israel, shared his knowledge about analytics in a guest post for HIT Consultant in early summer 2017. He offers the following advice:
“Sometimes analytics can feel like drinking from a firehose. Focus on the aspects of the business that you want to impact, and understanding the data will become easier. Carefully choose your specific areas of focus and make sure they align with business interests, and that you have the ability to measure your impact and you can make an impact in those areas.”