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Modernizing Healthcare Through Patient Analytics and Interoperability
As the world rapidly shifts into a digitalized realm, the healthcare industry is also on the cusp of transformation. The industry is embracing the potential of automation, AI, and data and analytics to revolutionize the way medical services and patient care are delivered, received, and assessed.
Spurred by the pandemic and rising patient expectations, cloud-based healthcare digitalization has rapidly accelerated in the last few years. Think telemedicine, home health, and new advances in healthcare data interoperability and related electronic health records (EHRs). And it’s having a profound impact, especially in the areas of healthcare provider and payor interactions, accountable care organizations (ACOs), patient engagement, and operational efficiency.
Healthcare organizations of all types are recognizing the power of integrated patient data, analytics, and insights to reshape their practices, fostering collaboration and data sharing to enhance patient care outcomes. With a modern integrated data foundation, healthcare organizations can leverage advancements in generative AI, predictive analytics, and automation to reduce doctor and nurse burnout and increase frontline worker productivity.
The New Role of Data in Healthcare
The Power of Patient Analytics
Patient analytics represents a marriage of data science and healthcare. It offers the potential to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations within vast patient datasets.
With the increasing digitization of medical records, treatment histories, wearable device data, and more, healthcare professionals now have access to an intricate tapestry of patient information. This wealth of data, when subjected to sophisticated analytical tools, enables care givers to predict outcomes, personalize treatment plans, and make more informed decisions that directly impact patient well-being.
From identifying early warning signs to optimizing treatment pathways, patient analytics empowers healthcare practitioners to deliver care that is not only evidence-based and timely but also tailored to individual patient needs.
Unlocking the Potential of Data with Interoperability
Interoperability is the seamless exchange and integration of data across disparate health systems and platforms. It forms the backbone of modern healthcare innovation. The fragmentation of data silos that have historically created high costs and inefficiency and hindered comprehensive patient care has given way to a new era of connected health systems.
This streamlined access to accurate and up-to-date patient data facilitates timely diagnoses, enhances care coordination, and reduces duplicative efforts. Furthermore, interoperability sets the stage for advanced analytics and AI-driven insights, allowing healthcare professionals to leverage data for proactive interventions and patient-centered care models.
By enabling all the various data sources to communicate and share information, interoperability empowers healthcare providers to access holistic patient profiles in real-time.
IDC estimates that on average, approximately 270 GB of healthcare and life science data will be created for every person in the world in 2020.
Navigating the Challenges of Data and Healthcare
While healthcare providers, payors, and ACOs today are looking to make the most of their data, it isn’t always that easy. Traditionally, there are significant roadblocks that keep sharing and leveraging data out of reach. These challenges include:
Siloed Data and Fragmented Views
Healthcare organizations are sitting on massive amounts of data. This includes patient records, medical forms, clinical trial results, medical imaging reports, and much more. According to RBC Capital Markets, “approximately 30 percent of the world’s data volume is being generated by the healthcare industry.” That’s a lot of data!
Yet, even with all this data, every time you see a doctor it seems you still have to fill out the same paper-based forms. And 75 percent of clinicians are taking notes and putting information manually into your patient record. Why? Because the data is structured and unstructured, from myriad sources, and remains siloed.
A unified platform that centralizes access and provides visibility and security of patient and member data is the only way to overcome this hurdle. Until everyone can access the right information when and where they need it, they won’t be able to use their data effectively.
Proprietary Applications and Systems
Many healthcare organizations continue to run older, proprietary applications that are not compatible with newer data and analytics tools. According to a 2021 HIMSS survey, 73 percent of healthcare provider organizations have legacy information systems. The healthcare industry is notorious for being reluctant to change and slow to adopt new technologies. Why? There are several reasons:
- Upgrading legacy systems can be expensive and they simply don’t have the budget to invest in new solutions
- Many are hesitant to make a change because they are afraid to disrupt existing workflows and life-critical patient care
- Healthcare organizations may lack the internal knowledge and resources to keep up with the latest technology trends
To unlock the full potential of their data and take advantage of insights and predictions, healthcare organizations need to modernize their data infrastructure. This includes moving to the cloud to automate, streamline, analyze, and collaborate.
Timeliness of Data
As mentioned, many healthcare organizations rely on older applications and systems. Many of their collection processes and pipelines are manual and there’s limited resources to manage things. This leads to data that isn’t updated regularly or available in a timely manner.
Insights are only as reliable as the data, so for many healthcare organizations real-time analytics and valuable insights remain elusive. Addressing these challenges is crucial to maintaining data accuracy, timeliness, relevance, and accessibility, which are essential for innovation and modernization.
Inability to Use and Report Results
The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) is a tool used by more than 90 percent of U.S. health plans to measure and monitor performance on important dimensions of care and service. HEDIS, as well as other quality assessments including Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAPHS) and Health Outcomes Survey (HOS), provide benchmarks and where healthcare provides are doing well or need improvement. It is more important than ever for healthcare organizations to be able to follow and report on these types of measures to meet regulations, reduce costs, and improve quality.
By being able to take advantage of these measurement tools and best practices to complete quality improvement projects and benchmark themselves with CMS Star Ratings, organizations will be well positioned to ensure patient satisfaction, superior customer service, and higher quality care.
Healthcare Data Expectations
Patients expect their personal health information to be kept private and handled with the utmost care and U.S. healthcare organizations have both a legal and ethical obligation to preserve the confidentiality of patient information. Regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), ONC’s Cures Act, CMS, and the Interoperability and Patient Access Rule help govern the use and protection of patient data and imposes penalties for non-compliance.
Healthcare organizations need to exercise caution when using insights and recommendations derived from their patient/member data to ensure bias does not deliver incorrect medical insights. With greater reliance on analytics, insights, and new generative AI models, healthcare organizations need to stay vigilant to ensure bias does not deliver incorrect recommendations, underrepresent societal groups, or reinforce patterns of discrimination.
Realizing the Benefits of Unified Data and Cloud-based Analytics
Despite these challenges, more and more healthcare organizations are looking to join the digital revolution and make data more accessible, connected, and portable. Not only to adhere to regulatory requirements, but for meaningful impact on operations, human experience, and patient care.
Here are just some of the benefits healthcare organizations can achieve when they modernize, integrate, and leverage patient insights:
- Analytics can help healthcare providers make more informed clinical decisions, more accurate diagnoses, develop personalized treatment plans, and improve patient outcomes by providing real-time access to patient data and insights.
- Analytics can optimize resource allocation, such as staffing, equipment, and supplies, to improve care management.
- Analytics can help healthcare organizations improve patient engagement and overall experience by tracking metrics related to patient satisfaction, communication, and education.
- Analytics can help healthcare organizations identify opportunities to optimize bed utilization, reduce boarding times, and improve patient flow.
- By identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the discharge process, organizations can make data-driven decisions to improve patient flow and reduce wait times.
- Analytics can help healthcare organizations meet regulatory requirements by tracking KPIs related to compliance, quality, and safety.
- Healthcare organizations can reduce medical errors and excessive tests/procedures by analyzing data on patient outcomes and identifying areas for improvement. By increasing the accuracy of diagnoses and treatments, they can reduce the need for costly interventions and readmissions.
- By tracking financial metrics and identifying areas for improvement, organizations can make informed decisions to reduce costs and improve financial performance.
- Predictive analytics can help payors determine which providers have a history of fraud activity and which provider behaviors are likely to lead to fraud. By identifying areas of risk, they can take proactive measures to prevent it and reduce loss and damage from fraud.
The Value of Analytics for Accountable Care Organizations
With the transition to value-based care and the rising costs of Medicare and healthcare services, accountable care organizations provide value by improving the quality of healthcare while also controlling the spiraling costs. Through improvements in data interoperability and analytics accountable care organizations can use health information data to monitor patient outcomes, identify areas for improvement, and make informed recommendations about care delivery.
Here’s a great example of how Delaware Valley ACO made better use of its data to unlock the potential of data-driven analytics and insights.
Delaware Valley ACO
Delaware Valley is one ACO who is partnering with Hitachi Solutions to centralize data across a large number of hospitals — including claims information and patient EMRs in Epic — to enhance the quality of healthcare and reduce costs. Following is a snapshot of how we helped them embark on a journey to modernize their disparate data assets and unlock the potential of data-driven analytics and insights.
The Delaware Valley Accountable Care Organization (DVACO) serves as a catalyst for enhancing healthcare quality and reducing costs across the Greater Philadelphia region. In an industry transitioning from fee-for-service to value-based care, DVACO faced the challenge of managing a competitive landscape with limited resources.
Their analysts struggled with inefficiencies stemming from multiple parent companies and the need to unify and become self-sufficient. They had separate VPN and VM setups, which hindered data processing and analytics. Raw claims stored on outdated servers and constant concerns over disk space and performance further complicated matters.
DVACO undertook an analytics strategy overhaul and secured budget approval to modernize its data infrastructure. To help them unlock the potential of data-driven analytics to drive efficiency and insights, they turned to Hitachi Solutions. Together we migrated their on-prem data systems to the cloud. The adoption of Azure, Data Lake, Data Factory, Databricks, and SQL Server Managed Instances automated, simplified, and streamlined their data processing and reporting.
The transition allowed DVACO to handle data more swiftly, enhance insights, and improve overall operational efficiency. With this transformation, they were not only able to embrace self-sufficiency, but it also paved the way for innovative, data-driven approaches to healthcare delivery.
“Going from being dependent upon our parent companies to managing everything ourselves in-house has made us more productive and efficient. We’re now able to process and turn things around much quicker. And we’re able to do more with the data than we could before, providing better insights for our customers.”— Jon Ferretti, Database & Cloud Administrator at DVACO
And after implementation, DVACO once again turned to Hitachi Solutions to monitor and maintain the new environment through our Managed Services practice. With a 24/7 support system, automated alerts, and a team of experts, DVACO has peace of mind, enabling their team to focus on delivering valuable insights and transformative care within the healthcare landscape.
Read the full customer success story for more details.
Game-changing Analytics with Databricks and Hitachi Solutions
Hitachi Solutions’ Empower Data Platform is an all-in-one data solution that helps healthcare customers quickly and cost-effectively modernize their data estates. Leveraging the Databricks Lakehouse platform, Empower gives customers richer, more usable data — 55 percent faster and at an affordable cost. In fact, we were recently named the Databricks Disruption Partner of the Year for developing the Empower platform.
With the industry’s increasing reliance on data-driven decision-making, Databricks has emerged as a transformative force in delivering data interoperability within the healthcare sector. Their data platform bridges the gap between fragmented data sources, facilitating seamless data integration and analysis. Our partnership with Databricks is key to our success in the healthcare market.
“Databricks and Hitachi Solutions help get you started with generative AI for healthcare and life sciences. Generative AI has the potential to revolutionize the way organizations discover insights and impact patient outcomes. But it’s still early days. What is critical for healthcare organizations is to prepare for this new wave of technology, today.”— Mike Sanky, Global Industry Lead, Healthcare & Life Sciences at Databricks
Expertly Harness the Power of Your Data with Hitachi Solutions
Having the processes and tools to improve data visibility and glean data-driven insights allows healthcare organizations to treat more patients and give better care. But it goes beyond just data to include a more integrated approach. Modern cloud business and automation technology, advanced analytics like AI and ML, as well as people-based organizational based change management and training are all required to help such initiatives be adopted and really succeed.
If you are already on the path to digital transformation or are just starting your journey, there are many considerations, complications, and complexities. Working with an experienced and knowledgeable partner is critical to successfully meeting your patient analytics and interoperability goals.
With Hitachi Solutions on your side, you have end-to-end support — from advisory and leadership skills, to data and analytics experience, to technology and solutions expertise. Whether you are interested in the Empower Data Platform, Microsoft Fabric, or Databricks to accelerate your digital initiatives, are ready now to use your data to re-imagine patient care and operational efficiency, or just want to know where to start — contact us today.
An integrated, modern data foundation is at the heart of improving analytics and interoperability in healthcare. It’s also the foundation for establishing generative AI. From enhanced diagnosis accuracy, to better planning and resource availability, to reshaping the overall patient care and experience, use cases around generative AI are limitless.
Stay tuned for more blogs on how data and AI are revolutionizing the healthcare industry as well as insights from the HLTH 2023 Conference.