As the business of health care continues to evolve, analytics have the potential to change this field in a significant way. Many experts view big data as a critical tool for bringing about much-needed value-based health care, as this information can enable providers to balance cost-effective care with high-quality care. Professionals who work at the intersection of health care and information technology (IT) will be at the forefront of this exciting movement to make the most of analytics integration.
Higher Quality Care
As the amount of available data increases, physicians and other health care providers can use it to their advantage to offer higher quality care across the board. As McKinsey & Company surmise, providers can refer to existing data in order to offer patients the most current and the most effective treatment for their condition. Since all caregivers throughout an organization, local network, and nationwide system have access to the same data, they can rely on identical information to achieve unified goals.
As more and more physicians’ offices, hospitals, insurance providers, and other organizations in the health care field collect and share data regarding treatments and procedures, together they have begun to establish more cost-effective applications. As IBM explains, longer lives, additional chronic conditions, and increasing numbers of infectious diseases have driven health care analytics professionals to discover cost-effective solutions. According to IBM, patients in the U.S. spend nearly two and a half times more per capita on health care than those in other developed countries.
A Move Toward Value-Based Health Care
Over the past decade, health care providers have largely shifted from episodic-style treatment, for which they received payment for each service provided, to value-based care, which holds providers responsible for prescribing unnecessary or costly treatments. To avoid penalties and ensure that their treatment plans follow best practices and are as effective as possible, many providers have resorted to health analytics.
As the Healthcare Financial Management Association elaborates, many physicians have also begun to rely on tools like clinical decision support (CDS). This analytics-driven tool assesses patient data and assists health care providers in diagnosing conditions and suggesting a proven course of action. Utilizing analytics in this way enables physicians and health care professionals to make decisions that benefit the patient, the provider, and the practice.
More Work Ahead
Though much of the narrative about health care analytics is positive, a study by Deloitte tempers the good news with statistics that reveal just how much work is ahead of most health informatics professionals. According to Deloitte, fewer than half of health care organizations have a clear strategy for integrating analytics into the practice. At least one in five organizations have a decentralized model for analytics oversight, which may reduce their effectiveness. On the plus side, over half of health care organizations intend to invest in integrating analytics into standard practices.
With such a strong demand for both improved care and lower health care costs, analytics will likely only continue to grow in significance. Professionals in this field will be in a prime position to help drive the health care industry in the right direction toward a value-based system.
Image via Flickr by IntelFreePress