Nowadays healthcare organizations are flooded with patient data. It seems that this abundance of information must engage medical institutions in the big data analytics environment. But in reality, a huge number of institutions are not able to leverage data for their good. According to a Catalyst article, 30% of global data being stored belongs to the healthcare industry. These valuable insights not only help to treat patients better, more effectively, and in a deeply personalized manner, but also help decision-making in terms of business data-driven, and thus, being informed.
The Deloitte survey conducted in 2018 reveals the dynamic of data analytics in healthcare. During the period of 2015-2018, this metric has significantly grown.
The dominant ratio — 84% of healthcare executives deem analytics extremely important for strategic planning in the next several years. The overall engagement of C-suite in the analytics area has also increased almost threefold. As per the very same study, the global healthcare analytics market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2024.
Medical systems worldwide have stepped into value-based care, where the patient experience is at the core. Data-driven strategies in healthcare organizations are more productive and profitable than competitors.
“Value-based care is the right step towards quality-focused care. Value is measured by either improvement in (1) quality of life or (2) length of life for the patient. The individual patient’s perception of these two measures is a major factor in the determinant of value, allowing the patient to be a vital member of the care team. Therefore, the success of value-based care depends on doctor-patient communication”
— Dr. Simon Lorenz, Co-Founder of Klara
Strategic Planning in Healthcare
Let’s discuss the benefits of strategic planning using strategic planning examples in healthcare.
First and foremost, healthcare organizations use data analytics for the purpose of cost reduction. IT managers, health information management, C-suit execs get together and examine financial reports. Those are the evidence if the resources are used inefficiently or there are other cost drivers. Report analysis must imply a multidisciplinary approach, therefore, a special task force is oftentimes used to connect the numbers with clinical reasoning. Based on that, an institution develops a strategic plan.
A hospital is a multidimensional organization where people on different levels must be on the same page 24/7. Strategic planning ensures transparent communication across the company, improves collaboration, helps employees share a common vision, and stay motivated. Everyone is aware of the hospital’s strategic goals as well as their own contribution to them.
Analytics in healthcare strategic planning influences outcomes and quality. Management can see the gaps in care. This is done through monitoring of the reports, and sometimes quality metrics fail to be reported. And of course, it’s about risk management: the scores give managers a clear picture of how an institution works from operational, clinical, and financial perspectives.
“For the first time really we’re discovering physicians are expressing much more openness and willingness to consider information about their patients coming from DIY devices”
— Ceci Connolly, Leader of PwC’s Health Research Institute
The numerous departments, resources, and multiple staff require consistent coordination. In this case, the glue that unites all the stakeholders involved in providing care is the information, more specifically, how seamlessly it circulates and is shared between all. Therefore, data analytics is used to accumulate, manage, and store data.
And when talking about storage of patient data, one cannot but think: how about security?
Keeping Patient Data Secure
The power of data comes with great responsibility. When it comes to leveraging huge data sets, sharing, and storing them, the security and compliance issue follows immediately. Every organization aimed at ethical conduct has its own security posture, where it expresses security strategy, the risk management process as well as fragmented steps to ensure data safety.
Ways to keep up patient safety are:
- Educate your staff on the best practices. Do you happen to know the cause of the majority of data breaches? Mere human factor. Employees will be employees: if there is an opportunity they will use a work laptop for their own needs, buy something, etc. There will never be enough prudence when it comes to security measures. But systematic training on measures, understanding responsibility and consequences will significantly improve behavior.
- Conduct regular risk assessments. Once a year healthcare organizations must carry out risk assessments in order to check how the system works, and whether there are vulnerable areas. The key aspect here is doing it systematically.
- Be smart about access to data. Ensure access to certified staff. Think of restricting the data access to some applications, software, and have multi-factor authentication in place.
- Consider encryption. Even if a data breach occurs, hackers will be unable to decipher it.
“When introducing your healthcare company to a software and vice versa, mind one thing: your patients trust their sensitive information to get good treatment in return. Therefore, cybersecurity must be the spine of your data infrastructure: it has to be a proactive process, not a one-time reaction”
— Vlad Medvedovsky at Proxet, custom software development company.
Importance of Strategic Management in Healthcare: Summing Up
Obviously, clinical and patient data have a huge impact on healthcare, whether you are a dental cosmetics company or specialize in diabetes. Today, it’s not a question of introducing a tech solution to your operations, it’s how consistent you are in innovating your business. Technologies get old every day, therefore, healthcare companies have to be especially thoughtful about what’s hot.
“We're seeing great strides in deep learning and other AI techniques being applied against images, whether they be radiology images or pathology images or a gastroenterology image. For example, the situation in pathology is it's going to be many years before a computerized microscope can actually look at a slide and make a diagnosis of cancer or not cancer or other findings. But specific questions can be addressed. What's the rate of mitoses in this section? Or is this marker of malignancy present? What proportion is it present? Those sorts of questions are being addressed now with AI-related tools and having great success. There are specific areas in medicine where we can apply these tools and have good outcome and good use”
— Raymond Aller, MD, department of pathology physician at Los Angeles-based Keck Hospital of USC, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital
Data analytics improves the care of each specific patient, boosts research, and enhances entire health systems. The information itself is useless until its management is established — links between these huge data sets. Here we can talk about telemedicine, precision medicine, and the future of medicine in general. The amount of data will continue growing exponentially, which will be added up by IoT, wearables, various trackers, and sensors. The job of the medical institution is to ensure smooth interoperability, safety, and privacy.
Data-driven strategic planning gives clarity to the chaos. Let the doctors do their jobs while machines calculate and bring valuable insights to the table.