The health care industry in the U.S. is at a crucial point. The country's increasingly high population shows no signs of reduction, and the pressure on professionals to provide adequate health care is higher now more than ever in both the public and private sectors. As the pressure continues to mount, the expectations people have for their medical care are higher, too. But health care providers are struggling to deliver such a high level of care on a consistent basis.
That is where analytics come into play. Since the burden of providing premium care without incurring overwhelming, debilitating costs seems to fall on the health care community, medical professionals are searching for new ways to meet higher expectations without charging patients ridiculous amounts of money for health care. Advances in technology are providing some solutions to the problem.
The concept of business intelligence has been around the industrial sector for years, but it is relatively new to the health care field, according to the Health Informatics Journal. That said, it has been extremely helpful to decision-makers in medical settings.
But the clock is ticking when it comes to optimizing health care strategies. If today's trends in the health care industry continue in the coming years, baby boomers will be the ones requiring the most extensive forms of health care services in the near future. In fact, an estimated 75 million baby boomers in the U.S. will go through the system in the coming years, according to Hospitals & Health Networks. The time is now for the health care industry to prepare itself for the influx of patients to minimize problems in the future.
An increased pressure due to rising costs
There are plenty of people who make up the health care consulting business and it is part of their job to analyze date effectively and optimize operations within the industry to improve patient care. With health care costs on the rise, they are busy as ever. Health care expenditures in the U.S. are continuing to grow at faster rates than the education, transportation and agriculture industries, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. People in the U.S. spent a combined $2.6 trillion on health care alone in 2010 – nearly 18 percent of the country's gross domestic product.
But why has there been such a spike in health care spending? There are a few reasons. First of all, people are living longer. The result is a much higher number of individuals who age and have to contend with problems that occur as they get older. Moreover, as the technologies in medicine are becoming more advanced, the costs associated with them continue to rise as well. Since the health providers are paying more to provide care, patients will often have to pay more as well.
That said, improved data governance and more advanced analytical strategies should help improve the industry overall. One of the most popular analytical strategies employed by health care consultants deals with visual analytics – in other words, using charts, graphs and imagery to visualize growing health concerns and find creative solutions. The impact is profound if executed properly. Health care providers and patients alike can make better informed decisions as a result of the visual aids.
How health big data comes in handy
So how, specifically, can health organizations make more tangible improvements to their strategies using business intelligence? According to Healthcare IT News, there are a few possible ways. To begin, organizations can utilize better triaging. All medical facilities should aim to optimize the use of beds, staff and other resources. If they can ensure that no supplies or labor are wasted, their level of care should rise accordingly. The acquisition and analysis of data can drastically help medical providers see what areas they need to improve.
Moreover, access to big data can help doctors, physicians and other medical professionals improve their patient care. As health care providers continue seeing the same conditions over and over again, they can use large data samples to evaluate historical results of multiple treatment strategies. This leads to the optimization of treatment strategies and better overall health care. Take, for example, a patient who is suffering from a chronic condition to an organ system. By looking at a wealth of data, medical professionals will likely treat the patient the correct way the first time, saving the patient and facility money while increasing the likelihood of a positive result.
In addition to the time and money it will save providers and patients alike, big data also helps health care providers respond to adverse events in a more timely manner. Episodes such as strokes, heart attacks and drug overdoses are so scary because they often require fast action to avoid death or permanent damage. Having data about the condition as well as the patient can go a long way in helping doctors and nurses provide life-saving care. In the same vein, big data helps medical professionals provide proactive care for patients to keep events like these from happening in the first place.
The more data the medical community has at its disposal, the more it can do to sniff out weaknesses hiding in its current procedures and make crucial adjustments. Better information will surely yield better long-term health for patients across the country.
Solution consulting can bolster your organization
If you are in charge of a health care organization that is working to implement enterprise solutions for business intelligence, you probably know that the process will be slow and difficulties may arise along the way. It would behoove you to find knowledgeable consultants who can help you with whatever challenges come up. From big data analysis to healthcare revenue cycle management, the team at Professional Medical Services is here to help.