The benefits of analytics in healthcare
Johannesburg, South Africa
(27 Sep. 2013)
By: Goran Dragosavac, Solutions Manager: Information Management at SAS South Africa
Analytics can be applied and will deliver insights to most areas of healthcare, with the impact of curing people faster, saving lives, controlling outbreaks of disease, running hospitals more efficiently, controlling costs and allocating staff where they are needed most.
Analytics can also help to deliver answers to questions by analysing masses of data and looking for patterns or probabilities. For instance, in disease management, it can deliver likely probabilities of outcomes, interpret contributing factors to infection rates, or interpret desirable and undesirable patterns to either prevent them from recurring or replicate them as desired.
Analysing and improving outcomes
Through a historical record of outcome experiences, caregivers will know better which treatment modalities result in better outcomes for patients. Effective outcomes management often relies on a successful data warehousing strategy designed to track outcomes in all these areas.
The same successes are offered in the area of financial outcomes, covering measures such as length of hospital stay, net margins, cost breakouts, number of ER visits and office visits. Analytics can also be turned to fraud and abuse – the most frequent of which arises from a false statement or misrepresentation that results in a payment to a physician or other practitioner, hospital or other institutional provider, clinical laboratory or other provider, billing service, beneficiary or any person in a position to file a claim for payment or benefits.
Minimising medical errors
Some adverse events are not preventable, representing a risk associated with treatment, such as a life-threatening allergic reaction to a drug when the patient has no known allergies to it. But there are many other types of medical errors, including equipment failure, infections, blood transfusion-related injuries, misinterpretation of medical order, incorrect medicines or prescriptions, surgical errors and lab report errors. By identifying patterns in these, it is possible to do what is necessary to educate the people involved – patients and caregivers – to reduce their incidents.
As with any other industry, healthcare can derive a wealth of benefits from turning analytics to the mass of data the industry generates. The only distinguishing factor for the healthcare industry is that the benefits realised can save lives and ensure wellbeing, so their need is far more pressing.
SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. With innovative business applications supported by an enterprise intelligence platform, SAS helps 65,000 organizations improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world
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