What Is Health Care Data Analytics?

The new value and actionable insights created by health care data analytics solutions can help hospitals stay abreast of best practices and provide improved outcomes for their patients.

Find out how this important field is improving patient outcomes and operations in hospitals and emergency departments across the country.

Creating better processes and patient outcomes in health care today depends on effectively using health care data analytics. As one of the highest-cost centers and the front door to the hospital, emergency departments depend on data to address issues like patient throughput and crowding, variability in practice among providers, and revenue cycle management.

To better understand the potential, it is helpful to look at how health care data analytics is used throughout hospital medicine and EDs to create a better patient experience and more cost-effective processes.

Defining Modern Health Care Data Analytics

Data analytics is more than pretty dashboards. It is the process of acquiring and integrating large amounts of data and then enriching, categorizing, and segmenting it to provide high-value actionable insights. By connecting seemingly unrelated sets of data, software can reveal important insights in a way that wasn’t possible before.

Analyzing data sets, such as disease-specific information, practice patterns, and outcomes, along with demographics, can reveal new connections. Finally, presenting this data in meaningful ways, benchmarking it to industry standards, and showing changes over time can influence care decisions and industry best practices.

Sources of Health Data

Electronic health records (EHRs) have made modern health care data analytics possible, but they aren’t the only source of data taken into consideration. Data analytics has the potential to be revolutionary when data is merged from disparate sources. This means that claims data, EHR data, scheduling data, patient satisfaction surveys, and other sources can all be combined in new ways.

The internet of things (IoT) has also entered the picture with data from peripherals like fitness trackers, wireless blood glucose testing for diabetics, and remote patient monitoring tools. The future is bright with the possibility of creating new value from all of this disparate data and communicating that value in new ways.

Application of Health Care Data Analytics

Adopting data analytics in health care has been a game changer across the industry. Analyzing data sets in new ways is the new frontier – not only recording health outcomes, but changing them. Here are some areas that can benefit from data analytics:

Patient Throughput: The pressure to treat patients efficiently is paramount in busy EDs. Data analytics can reveal patterns in patient arrivals, turnaround times, and case mix that yield actionable insights. This valuable information can lead to better decisions about staffing, bed availability, and test utilization.

Highly efficient EDs have better quality outcomes, lower provider burnout, and more satisfied patients. Patients who leave without being seen (LWBS) or who leave against medical advice (AMA) are costly for EDs and lead to deteriorating patient health conditions. Managing wait times more efficiently through data-driven initiatives offers the potential to reduce LWBS and AMA significantly.

Quality of Care: Quality measurement, both for internal purposes and external reporting, is a prime data analytics use case. Nationally, quality measures are publicly reported and used as a basis for future payments. Good performance on these measures is crucial to both patient outcomes and future viability of a hospital. Hospitals depend on data-driven improvement initiatives and outcome data to streamline processes, reduce clinical variability, and improve outcomes.

Enhanced Understanding: Understanding the patient demographics of a particular hospital or ED enables better care. EDs function as the front door of the hospital, and interactions there shape the entire patient experience and satisfaction levels. Providing the right services and the right environment to best serve the community benefits everyone. It is also important to understand how needs might change over time. Gathering and analyzing the right data can allow hospitals to continuously improve that experience based on patient feedback.

Risk Management: Hospital risk managers know the value of health care data analytics to find areas of noncompliance that risk poor outcomes. Pinpointing areas that need improvement can make all the difference when mitigating risk for the facility and providers. With the right analytics solution, adherence to standards of care and documentation requirements can be easily monitored and acted on. Lower-risk providers also reap benefits in the form of lower costs for malpractice insurance and litigation.

Population Health: Nothing has been more relevant in 2020 as the health care world battles COVID-19. Health care data analytics has been instrumental in modeling and evaluating risk to the population. Data analytics has been at the center of quantifying response to treatment, longer term outcomes, and information needed to advance vaccine efforts.

In terms of predicting outbreaks in order to proactively customize a response in a specific community, however, most of the analytics has fallen short. At d2i, the work we have done around correlating presenting complaints in the ED with COVID-19 diagnoses suggests that patterns in the ED can serve as early warning signals of potential outbreaks.

Demographics is another aspect of population health data that has proven valuable, specifically demographics that provide opportunities to attack systemic disparities in health care as well as analyze various demographic cohorts to predict future demand for telehealth emergency care and other services.

Reducing Costs: Examining costs within health care is an ongoing concern of payers, administrators, and patients alike. As some of the most expensive care settings, hospitals and EDs can gain a lot of insight by examining data. For instance, new revenue and savings can be discovered by analyzing data to ensure correct coding, and reducing duplication of services. Outcomes of treatment paths can be analyzed to find the best and most cost-effective practices that demonstrate value to patients and payers. Interventions that have the most impact can be studied and deployed across health systems.

Data analytics is becoming more sophisticated and connected; the potential is great for what the science can achieve for the industry. New value and actionable insights created by health data analytics solutions can help hospitals adapt to changes and continuously improve for their patients.

Learn More About d2i’s Powerful Health Care Data Analytics Solutions

To see exactly how d2i can help put your data to work and help your team prepare for its new normal, learn more about our health care data analytics solutions, or request a demo with one of our emergency medicine analytics experts.