One of the biggest hurdles to such a goal is that data is scattered across organizations that often can’t speak to each other. This locks data away in silos.Some healthcare organizations are beginning to make progress with data aggregation, allowing them to create a full view of a patient’s care profile and treatment. In this article, we’ll look at how they are doing it, specifically for improving the health and wellbeing of society's most vulnerable.
Identifying True Sources of Value
Built for Zero is a national campaign that was launched in 2015. The program gathers real-time data on the homeless. This data is then shared with communities. The program benefits communities that don’t have the resources to collect such data. While communities are able to access the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's once-a-year homelessness reporting, it obviously isn’t as efficient as real-time data collection.
"In many ways it is like taking housing emergencies and understanding them like health emergencies," Rosanne Haggerty, president, and CEO of Community Solutions, said to Modern Healthcare. "You need an individual diagnosis; you need a coordinated response; the generalists need to be speaking with the specialists."Communities are already seeing positive results from the program. The city of Abilene, Texas, announced that it had ended homeless among its veteran population as of February 2019. Other communities, including Bergen County, N.J., Lancaster, Pa., and Rockford, Ill., have greatly reduced or ended chronic homeless as well.California has the Whole Person Care initiative, which was launched by the California Department of Health Care Services in 2017. Whole Person Care is also a holistic health program that looks at the physical and behavioral health and social needs of patients. One of the major successes of the program has been the creation of new partnerships with intragovernmental and external organizations.Real-time data collection and analysis allows communities to more efficiently measure the impact their homeless prevention efforts are having. A paper by SAS titled ‘Using Analytics to Improve Community Health’ said “What is valued in policy is what is measured, and what is measured ends up driving individual actions, treatment plans and interventions.”
If data is collected periodically (i.e., every few months or even once per year), it doesn’t allow for quickly updating processes or changing direction. With slow data collection, a program may find that it has veered off course and wasted money on efforts that aren’t helping a community to achieve its goals.
Creating A Data Ecosystem
A data ecosystem is an environment that allows the sharing of data between different organizations. Think of Apple’s device ecosystem. Once you own more than one Apple device, you’re able to easily access the same information across all of your devices. Unfortunately, this is not the case with most healthcare organizations, but some are starting to buck the trend.Yale-New Haven Health in New Haven, Connecticut, has implemented a cost accounting system that ultimately saved it $150 million in cost."Yale-New Haven Health sought a new, improved system to help guide clinical and finance leaders at the health system toward speaking the same language, using data to partner, and together making an impact on cost and quality,” Vincent Tammaro, Yale-New Haven Health System, said to HealthcareIT News. “Yale-New Haven Health needed the ability to track specific patients and their patient populations across the care continuum, driving quality of care and better outcomes.”Yale-New Haven Health may sound like just a more efficient accounting system, but it is more than that. The full implementation allows the organization to track patients across disciplines. It provides real-time tracking of patient data and allows more access to clinical and financial data for coordinating and reassessing care plans.
Utilizing Insights and Turning Them into Action
A report by P&S Market Research shows that healthcare data analytics market is expected to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22%, reaching a market value of $22.7 billion by 2023. Given the massive amount of data produced by healthcare organizations, we should see a number of analysis advances during that same period.
For organizations that are collecting and analyzing data (i.e., generating insights), the next step is to turn those insights into action. This requires knowing what the goal is ahead of time. Insights are there to help guide the organization toward its end goal.
Healthcare organizations are using predictive analytics in several ways to produce insights. A survey by Health Data Management/SoureMedia Research breaks use down into five categories:
- 54% — Improving clinical decision making
- 36% — Reducing the burdens of the EHR
- 34% — Turning the EHR into a reliable risk predictor
- 26% — Monitoring health through wearables
- 24% — Augmenting medical devices and machines
Through the analysis of real-time data, healthcare organizations are able to paint a complete picture of patients.
These organizations are also to determine if their treatment programs are making progress more efficiently. As organizations trend toward breaking down data silos, patients can expect their quality of care to increase while cost decrease.