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Discovering Insights in Healthcare with Data Discovery Tools

Posted by Mohammed Merkachi on 04-Jul-2016 09:30:00
Mohammed Merkachi
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The healthcare arena is only one venue that is reaping the benefits of utilizing business intelligence tools such as data discovery software.  This newer generation of BI tools is opening new and refreshing perspectives in healthcare informatics.  Clinicians can glean crucial insights when and where they need them, at the point of care.  Everything from reduced wait times to minimized readmissions to enhanced quality-of-care only skim the surface regarding the advantages the entire health-care system is experiencing by way of data discovery tools.

healthcare.pngThe healthcare industry around the world faces extreme financial pressures; and those demands are only increasing.  If there is a real superhero that exists, it would be data discovery tools.  They create impressive cost savings; they ensure optimized health of patients in and out of the hospital setting; and overall patient care is noticeably enhanced.  Through the use of data discovery tools, surgeons, doctors, nurses and other health professionals have the luxury of observing a panoramic landscape of a specific patient or group of patients.  Health professionals can collaborate with treatment options, for example; and in the end, maximized medical care across the board, is realized.

Below are just a handful of reasons why data discovery tools should be an embedded component of the medical establishment.  

Create Ease, Uniformity and Proficiency

Organizing and maintaining titanic levels of medical data is one of the most daunting tasks of healthcare organizations.  Whether it involves patient records, diagnoses and procedure codes, or managing claims, data preparation and discovery tools simplify the entire demand-spectrum. With numerous disparate data sources medical organizations must access, consolidate, visualize and investigate data, 24/7.  As a result, operational success is maximized, required financial goals are realized and regulatory requisites are automated and satisfied.  Interfaced data preparation tools benefit the user in many ways. Intuitive graphical user interfaces allow the user to utilize embedded intelligence which aids in automating common data prep tasks, collaboration and training features such as online content, alerts, a user community and access to experts in the field. A point-and-click configuration makes it easy for the business user to join, format, sort and calculate data without any coding involved thereby allowing them to move quickly without the assistance of the IT department. Visual data flows give users the ability to create and view the data output, navigating easily and increasing productivity. Zoom and pan features make isolating single sections of data simple so that analysis and edits can be made where necessary. Data lineage makes it possible for the business user to trace the origins of any data element through the entire assembly process and a preview pane shows data generated in each step of the data flow helping the user figure out whether or not each step is generating the correct data output. Clearly not all discovery solutions will implement such tools but one of superb quality will support capabilities such as these.

Various new regulatory requirements are stipulated by the Belgian government; and when regulatory requirements become automated within the healthcare system, life in the medical arena enters a new dimension of coveted simplicity.  Here, the utilization of data discovery tools becomes very stunning when one becomes familiar with even just one example of mandates such as hospitals being penalized when  patients are readmitted within 30 days of a discharge date.  This detail could serve as a major medical headache, but thanks to data discovery software, healthcare providers no longer have to rush to ensure required compliance.  Via business intelligence dashboards, one can project and predict the monetary and operational effects of government decisions and swiftly implement measures regarding any changes.

Improve Patient Care

Improvement in patient care is an ongoing objective; and business intelligence provides the necessary solutions to make it happen.  Even seemingly ordinary circumstances such as staff-response time can be monitored and evaluated to maximize efficiency and patient relations.  Here, a record is kept every time a patient presses the bedside alert button.  Once the health-giver responds to the patient’s request, a 2nd documentation is generated that monitors the length of time it took to respond to the patient.  Accumulated data can, then, be analyzed to glean the average response time which can be deemed as the standard for health-care-provider response time. 

Emergency wait-time is another avenue where data-discovery tools play a significant role.  Patient wait-times in emergency rooms can be minimized with the utilization of a mathematical model that incorporates on-location staff personnel, the number of waiting patients, and other factors.  Here, data discovery software can accurately pre-determine ER wait times and respond, accordingly.  Patients can endure shorter wait times and patient satisfaction is, yet again, enhanced.   

Anticipate Patient Needs

Long-term trends can be proactively anticipated; and no crystal ball is required.  Data discovery tools can offer a preparedness factor; and a case in point could include the following hypothetical, yet realistic, scenario:  data discovery software has revealed that within the last four years a particular health-care facility has treated no less than 15 patients with alcohol poisoning on the evening of the last day of those consecutive years.  The predictive data would suggest that that the medical facility should anticipate at least that number of admitted patients that would require swift medical intervention.  The appropriate number of staff on hand and enough medical equipment could all be readied and in place to ensure optimized attention to the predicted influx of patients requiring immediate attention.      

Monitor and Manage Surplus Costs

No health facility wants to shell out money for excess costs; and BI software can help to shave unnecessary expenditures.  Data discovery tools can determine how beds and inventories are being consumed in addition to assessing how to more effectively treat patients whose care might be monetarily exorbitant as well as which medical interventions are the most cost-effective.  This type of valuable insight offers increased opportunities for limited spending in addition to avoiding redundant patient re-admissions that can occur when insufficient data is available.  In the end, state and federal compliance programs are fully satisfied with the help of data discovery tools that organize tracking of specific data. 

And speaking of tracking, let’s briefly mention workflow.  Take, for example, 100 medical facilities where data discovery software tracks something as mundane as medication storage and retrieval.  What we could realistically uncover is countless hours of paperwork as well as extra office help to stay on top of that specific work load.  BI software eliminates this archaic approach and instead of paying more for payroll, one can utilize Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices that can provide immediate data regarding medication-related information to anyone, anywhere at anytime. 

Data discovery tools are all about saving time and saving money—costs are managed, compliance is  addressed and patient health and satisfaction are greatly improved.  In the end, everyone wins!

Agilos has developed a complete suite of solutions for the healthcare sector, including MEDIscovery, MEDIprest and NoShow.

Mike Miranda has been a co-writer for this article. Mike writes about enterprise software and covers products offered by software companies about topics such as Terminal Emulation, Legacy Modernization, Enterprise Search, Big Data, Data Discovery, Enterprise Mobility and more.

Topics: Healthcare