Harnessing the power of all the data being collected and generated by healthcare organizations is extremely important; synthesizing and analyzing healthcare data can influence patient outcomes, create differentiation, and drive revenue growth.
Healthcare organizations need to take advantage of health analytics in order to take full advantage of healthcare data.
What is Health Analytics?
Health analytics is the process of deriving insights from patterns and correlations in data that can be used to make better healthcare decisions. Health analytics extends beyond data management to finding meaning in real-time or historical data, and making predictions about the future to improve the probability of success.
Health systems can also use health analytics to gain insight into numerous areas of healthcare, including patient and physician engagement, revenue, risk, and population health initiatives. Using health analytics helps healthcare organizations get a clear picture of current operations and make data-backed decisions about how to improve outcomes in the future.
The Need for Health Analytics
The amount of patient data available to healthcare organizations – estimated to reach roughly 25,000 petabytes by the year 2020 – is beyond comprehension. And it’s only growing in volume and velocity. A CIO article notes that the increasing digitization of healthcare data means that organizations often add terabytes’ worth of patient records to data centers – annually.
The most shocking part?
The majority of that data goes unused – and, with it, the opportunity to produce actionable clinical and financial insights, improving both the quality and efficiency in healthcare.
A KPMG survey of 270 healthcare professionals shows that only 10 percent of respondents are using advanced tools for data collection with analytics and predictive capabilities. Less than one fifth of survey participants rely on data warehouses to track key performance indicators, and just 16 percent are using data in strategic decision making.
“We are only skimming the surface about using the full potential of data and analytics to improve healthcare,” says John Weis, director of data & analytics at KPMG, in a Managed Healthcare Executive article on the research findings. “The executives surveyed see the full potential being reached in three to four years.”
Let’s take a look at how health systems benefit when they leverage health analytics:
Benefits of Health Analytics
Let’s take a look at the primary benefits of health analytics, as well as examples of how it can be used to achieve greater customer engagement:
Better Data = Better Insight = Improved Outcomes
While healthcare data management and analysis exist as two different stages of the health analytics process, the truth is that analytics can’t exist without data. Before analytics can begin, health systems need to acquire, capture, cleanse, and integrate data from multiple sources with the help of a centralized healthcare analytics platform.
In that sense, there is an overlap between where data preparation ends and analytics begins. With valid and accurate data in place, healthcare enterprises can begin the process of interpreting the data to inform future interactions with patients, prospects, and populations.
Let’s say, for example, healthcare marketers have the goal of creating tailored, relevant messaging reminding certain consumers to get their annual flu shot. Analytics allows organizations to determine which patients are at highest risk for the flu, who has or has not received a flu shot, analyze which messages are more or less effective for different groups of people (based on historical data), and make predictions about which communication channels will result in the best response rate from each group (i.e., predictive modeling).
Increased Campaign Success
Analytics can help to uncover the root cause of response or, conversely, lack of response to outreach (i.e., distance to healthcare provider, availability of flu shot, or even bad data, like a patient who did get a flu shot but from a provider in a different network). If healthcare organizations understand the reasons customers are or are not engaging and converting, they can modify their strategies to increase success rates.
To do this, health systems should employ marketing technology like an HCRM, which integrates multiple sources of information into a single pane, and transforms the data into actionable information used to drive future campaigns. Specifically, the healthcare CRM allows enterprises to build, design, and execute campaigns, analyze performance with key stakeholders, and report on campaign statistics.
The overall goal is to use analytics to engage large numbers of patients in ways that improve patients’ responses to healthcare outreach.
Improved Health Outcomes
Health analytics make organizations aware of treatments, service lines, and population health initiatives that are thriving, as well as those that are not. An aspect of healthcare that is not thriving might be a department experiencing low retention rates or high numbers of quickly readmitted patients. When analytics make health systems aware of exactly where they need to improve, they can go about making changes that are proven to produce results.
How to Adopt Health Analytics
First, existing healthcare data should be clean, complete, accurate, and formatted for use in multiple systems. Health systems should also prepare additional storage space, considering the costs and options involved with digital storage, such as the cloud. It is also vital to prioritize data security and HIPAA compliance.
Health systems that want to streamline their adoption of health analytics and maximize value should employ an experienced health analytics provider. Such a provider should provide quick time-to-value, flexibility, and expertise. They should work with healthcare organizations as a partner and adapt their adoption model to meet the organization’s specified health analytics needs.
In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, health analytics competency is more important than ever. Organizations that fail to effectively harness their data to monitor business processes and produce actionable clinical and financial insights risk falling behind more agile competitors in the next few years.
Regardless of where an organization falls in the maturity curve of health analytics, the imperative for marketers is to effectively analyze data to inform campaign planning, increase responses, and enhance the patient’s overall experience.