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Big Data, Better Healthcare

Pressure is mounting for Healthcare companies and government organizations to better manage individual health concerns, serve more patients, and reassure communities during a world health crisis. 

In these challenging times, leveraging data for safer, better, and more accurate decision-making is more critical than ever before. Sharing is easier and data silos are easier to break, and data can be unlocked so collectively, we can fight a pandemic at scale.

In times of crisis, emotions naturally play a large role in running the risk of clouding rational judgment. When emotions and stakes are high, data-driven decision-making can help unleash the path of least resistance to address positive outcomes across clinical, financial, and operational workflows. 

This article explores how data impacts decision-making within the Healthcare industry, the role it plays for medical practices in today’s challenging times, and it can help Healthcare providers better manage the health outcomes of patients and communities.

Read more: AI In Telemedicine: Augmenting Healthcare Services in 2020

The Healthcare Digital Renaissance

Healthcare is experiencing a new phase of Digital Transformation, and given the current pressures to keep up with the ebb and flow of a global health crisis, we’re starting to see a significant shift in how the global healthcare system operates and the way that care is delivered. Much of this change comes down to one little word that has very big consequences: data.

In 2013, the Healthcare industry produced 153 exabytes of data. Fast forward to 2020, and that volume is estimated to increase over 15-fold to 2,314 exabytes. It’s now projected that Healthcare data is expanding faster than in Manufacturing, Financial Services, and Media.

That’s right — we produce more data at the doctor’s office annually than we do using our credit cards or watching Netflix. It follows that unlocking the power of all that data is the key to transforming the future of Healthcare with quality and precision in mind, across Clinical, Financial, and Operational processes. 

Managing High Volumes of Health Data and Interoperability Challenges

Over the past five years, the top three challenges in Healthcare IT have been interoperability, security, and analytics. However, electronic health records (EHRs), bolstered by BI, are now changing the game for clinicians.

Traditionally, the immense amounts of data produced by patients and doctors was confined to paper records in a doctor’s filing cabinet. EHRs were revolutionary because they enabled health data and medical records to be far more ‘mobile,’ and move between multiple doctors and clinics more efficiently. 

These records, particularly when dealing with high volumes of patient care, have the potential to vastly improve clinical outcomes for patients and to enable greater interoperability in healthcare. However, if there aren’t enough resources and implementation of the right solutions, many of these systems often fall short when it’s time to bring together financial, clinical, and operational data to help practitioners make informed decisions about patient care. By unlocking the value of data through better analytics, this will help accelerate progress on both interoperability and security. 

Similar to most data-heavy industries, employees (or healthcare professionals) produce the largest amount of data and they are the ones who need those insights the most. Yet they suffer from a decreasing amount of time to sift through large data sets to put the pieces together. 

Healthcare professionals are skilled at providing care to their patients, so it’s important the digital and practice support team around them invest in the right solutions to help them gain critical insights, allowing them to make positive patient outcomes their number one priority.

Read more: Is Your Business up to the Stress Test of External Forces Beyond Your Control? #BusinessContinuity

Healthcare’s Digital Revolution to Boost Visibility for Communities in Need

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Population health management (PHM) is the practice of aggregating numerous sets of patient health data across specific geography to produce a single record from which health care providers can make informed clinical and financial decisions. Presently, these solutions combine public health and technological disciplines to achieve high-level health outcomes for broader populations.

One powerful example of this practice is D-Tree International, a global health organization committed to solving the complex health challenges of those in need. It uses cutting-edge digital solutions powered by Sisense to supported health workers, serving over 5 million families in 16 countries – and deployed these solutions to enable international volunteers to pass actionable insights to government health organizations in Africa.

“Recently, a local government leader noticed that pregnant women were facing unusually high costs following visits to healthcare facilities in a specific region,” Sam Lilienfeld, D-Tree International Technology and Data Manager said. “That’s not how healthcare should work in Zanzibar — costs should be limited when going to public healthcare facilities.”

“Upon digging further into the visualizations, they discovered that a very important product was out of stock at the facility and patients were required to buy and pay for it themselves.

With a clear view of the causal link between clinical data (women with a pregnancy diagnosis), operational data (clinic locations), and financial data (heightened aftercare costs), there were immediate calls for policy change in the region that lead to budget reallocations to cover these vital pregnancy products. 

A Healthy Outlook for Big Data Use in Healthcare in Australia

In today’s uncertain times, Australia is faced with a healthcare system that is under pressure to meet increasing patient demand, an aging population, and rising healthcare costs. Big Data could be a viable solution to reduce costs, but it also provides an opportunity to improve outcomes and quality of life. According to a recent report from Australian Disruptive Technologies, a shift to digital health solutions is underpinned by Australia’s growing appetite for Data Analytics software and Big Data analysis.

In particular, Australia has niche capabilities in:

  • Clinical analysis of patient data
  • Bioinformatics technology
  • Precision medicine
  • Medical imaging 
  • Mobile computing platforms for data analysis

With increased start-up activity and investment in the area of big data and analytics, Australia is well-positioned to use data to continue to modernize and build positive outcomes within the Healthcare sector.

Building the Future of Healthcare With Data

BI and Analytics platform, Sisense, is used by some of the world’s most important healthcare leaders and is a prime example that in times of health crisis, using data can really help bring us together to monitor, track, and manage health outcomes for the better.

As an example, in recognizing the importance of managing an aging population, GeriMedica, a multi-disciplinary electronic medical record (EMR) company servicing the elderly care market has rolled out analytics that practitioners use to improve the quality of care. This helps time-poor practitioners to focus on helping patients when demand for healthcare is at an all-time high, as opposed to spending (wasting) hours in a software product.

“Caregivers now have access to alert dashboards that highlight patients who are struggling or not making anticipated progress. Caregivers can connect the dots between clinical and operational data and focus their discussions on a handful of patients,” CEO of Gerimedica, Hamza Jap-Tjong, said.

Through the successful adoption of advanced data strategies, clinics and hospitals, healthcare organizations, and government health initiatives can achieve healthier outcomes for patients with precision, accuracy, and superior efficiency, both during a health crisis – and beyond.

Read more: IBM Releases Novel AI-Powered Technologies to Help Health and Research Community Accelerate the Discovery of Medical Insights and Treatments for COVID-19 

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