Since the beginning of the modern business analytics era, one of the main objectives among government agencies has been the use of these tools to improve population health management. After all, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 required that all medical firms begin to use electronic health record systems, which essentially unified and standardized the ways in which patient data is generated, stored and shared.
This made it possible to embark upon large-scale analytics strategies to better understand diseases, general afflictions facing various segments of the population and more, while there is still much more to be done in this regard. Additionally, it appears as though individual health care providers are not taking a back seat in these trends, but rather taking the initiative to get their own analytics programs off the ground for internal patient care and operational efficiency improvements.
Health IT Analytics recently reported that a nonprofit health system operating in Maine and New Hampshire has forecast the use of real-time analytics to save it roughly $2 million this year. According to the news provider, Covenant Health has endeavors to leverage analytics for care coordination, preventative care and disease management, and has been highly successful with these technologies thus far.
"You can't be very effective at managing the care of employees if you don't understand your utilization patterns," Richard Boehler, M.D., CEO of one of Covenant Health's New Hampshire hospitals, told the source. "You can't have a good benefit design based on data that's a year and a half old. We have found that if we want to be effective at improving both wellness outcomes for our employees and reducing expense, that we need access to timely data that would give us the opportunity to influence change."
One can only hope other entities within this sector begin to use the tools for similar objectives, as the positive impact on patient care quality and affordability is vast.
Implications for others
Although businesses in other industries might not be all that concerned about population health management, these types of stories should clearly illustrate the potential ways in which analytics can strengthen operational management, efficiency and productivity.
So long as users are leveraging data preparation services before injecting information into an analytics program, the sky will be the limit for performance improvements over time.