Healthcare and Data Analytics
Healthcare providers, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers in the western world, to a great extent, are using data analytics to address the issue of ballooning healthcare costs. Insurers in healthcare segment use data analytics to figure out high risk patients. On the other, pharmacy managers utilize analytics to predict medication compliance. Care providers, meanwhile, use data analytics to identify the gaps in the care provided and improve delivery and patient satisfaction.
….Data Analytics is becoming globally important with Internet and communication technology boom. It refers to the set of technologies and processes that use data to understand and analyze business performance. World over, organizations are collecting data, both internal and external, organizing it, generating insights, and finally preparing recommendations to optimize the quality of operations and customer satisfaction. Analytics and fact-based decision making can be equally powerful in achieving governmental goals as they are to the corporate business objectives.
So far, in India, the health information and healthcare data analytics have been extensively used to measure health indicators, comparative analysis for planning and administration of quality health services and scientific research. The Health Information of India, a statistical report jointly published by the Director General of Health Services, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) and the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI) provides state-wise administrative data on the number of hospitals, beds, human resources and some production level data for the public sector alone. Other sources, such as the Registrar General of India (RGI); the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) National Council of Applied and Economic Research (NCAER); and the National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) predominantly provide health related data, instead of hospital specific data through demographic and / or economic surveys on vital statistics, consumption, utilization and expenditure of health services.
However, currently, there are no adequate survey-based data nor an administrative reporting system that provide basic hospital service statistics such as dis-aggregated information on types of out-patient visits and in-patient admission, bed utilization rates, bed days, occupancy rates, and average length of stay, etc. The availability of quality data on morbidity patterns and patient safety is also grossly inadequate. Further, healthcare organizations are wary of technology integration due to the additional cost burden caused by requirement of IT infrastructure and technical expertise. In all, this scenario, limits the ability to design innovative health insurance products and effective patient safety programs in the hospitals.
Data Analytics in Healthcare: The Silver Lining
Yet still, with increased disposable incomes, additional discretionary expenditure on health and demand for quality healthcare, importance of data analytics is growing in the delivery side of health services. It is estimated that India’s share of digital information will grow 60 times by 2020, driven by the roll-out of 3G / BWA networks, digitization of television networks, government services like the Unique ID project, Census, among others as per a report by IT solution provider EMC and IDC. According to another report by McKinsey five key areas with maximum big data potential in India are healthcare, public sector, retail, manufacturing and personal location data.
The big data analytics market in India is estimated to reach approximately $ 680 million by 2015 from about $ 320 million in 2011 EMC
Most Indian Healthcare organizations are now embarking on the analytics journey. Data analytics in healthcare strategy is increasingly viewed as the key engine of an organization’s dynamic capability. Certain tertiary care hospitals have integrated information management systems and EMR, to deep archive their data into warehouses and subsequently use it for data mining, research and analytics to make smarter decisions for improved quality of healthcare. The emerging trend in data storage is the cloud, which is a useful application for healthcare as it reduces the cost burden and is simple to manage. As the health care industry moves to electronic health records, the storage of data is increasingly going to be on the cloud. This application would enhance the capacity of storage of medical images for longer period. Besides, data analytics is opening up other avenues and opportunities in healthcare. These are:
New frontiers in data analytics: Innovation and emerging platform
Exchanging data builds the foundation for turning around and using that data in a variety of ways. Collecting data, making it available in a useable way and providing tools for analysis are the three components of successful healthcare information exchange. There is a great potential for innovative platforms to converge information and connect different electronic medical record products currently in the sector.
Driving product design and customer segmentation
Providers and insurers can employ powerful analytical tools to identify the segments that matter, uncover useful insights about behavior and point the way to process changes that will truly make a difference in patient satisfaction.
Data analysis technology enables auditors and fraud examiners to analyze an organization’s business data to gain insight into how well internal controls are operating and to identify transactions that indicate fraudulent activity or the heightened risk of fraud. Studies indicate that it makes great business sense to invest in anti fraud mechanism as a rupee spent on fraud prevention and management is worth 10 saved from fraud.
Strengthening quality of service delivery:
Providers are increasingly using Clinical analytics — using patient data to improve clinical outcomes, report quality measures, and identify medical and patient trends. Health care can use business intelligence tools to track trends related to costs, revenues and resources, as well as to study the treatment needs of patient population, assess care quality metrics and streamline the cumbersome billing and claims process. An example could be Apollo hospitals’ ACE 25 where key quality parameters of each hospital in the Apollo group are entered on an online dashboard, scored and reviewed by the highest leadership of the group each month.
Image Source Philippe Put
The author wishes to thank Sidharth Sonawat for the assistance is preparing this piece.