The amount of data generated by the healthcare industry is staggering. Currently, it accounts for approximately 30% of all data generated in the world, with that number expected to rise to 36% by 20251. If that’s hard to quantify, it’s projected to amount to around 2,314 exabytes2, the equivalent of 2,314 billion gigabytes, or the data size of 1,157 billion full-length movies3.
Such large amounts of data aren’t just useful for record keeping; they have the potential to have a significant impact on healthcare organizations. When maintained and analyzed correctly, these datasets can be used to improve clinical outcomes and make a huge difference to the lives of patients. In this blog post, we’ll outline several ways your organization can leverage data to enhance the patient experience.
Better Identify Warning Signs
When treating patients with potentially severe conditions, identifying the warning signs of deterioration are crucial to delivering successful treatment. By utilizing patient data and medical records from those who have suffered from the same condition, healthcare systems can better pinpoint specific indications of deterioration and remain vigilant in identifying them when providing care to patients.
Decipher Risk Factors
An equally effective use of legacy patient data is using it to identify risk factors that make a patient more susceptible to severe cases of a condition. For example, a recent study4 highlighted how researchers utilized data to identify risk factors – in this case, demographic characteristics and comorbidities – associated with severe cases of COVID-19.
Using data in this way empowers you to determine which patients are most likely to encounter a severe infection or a chronic disease, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and kidney disease5. Equipped with this information, you have an opportunity for early intervention and proactive treatment, which can not only prevent the patient from suffering a painful condition, but also help to minimize your organization’s costs.
Make Data-Based Decisions
In years gone by, patient datasets were often incomplete, with only some information provided. Now, with even the minutiae being recorded, the information available to healthcare professionals is comprehensive. As a result, you’re able to make more accurate, data-based diagnoses and fully informed clinical decisions, instead of judgement calls that carry an increased risk.
Better Engage Patients
Engaging patients in their own treatment is a great way to improve their experience and the quality of care you provide, and the data you possess can help you do it. Through targeted communication, based on data points such as your patient community’s health risks and capacity, you can engage your patients in targeted campaigns that raise awareness, encourage them to book appointments, and involve them in their healthcare journey.
Gain Operational Insights
The data you generate doesn’t just relate to patients; it provides insight into your organization, too. Your organizational structure and processes have a direct impact on patient outcomes, so using data to make internal improvements will help you increase the quality of care your patients receive. Some of the areas most likely to benefit from analyzing your data include employee scheduling, emergency preparation, administration, financial management, and compliance6.
Through a data-backed approach, healthcare providers have taken steps to enhance their operational efficiency while maintaining a high standard of care and have experienced the following benefits6:
- Reducing waste.
- Cost-effectively implementing technology.
- Increasing capacity.
- Improving project management.
- Sustaining outcome improvements.
Managing Your Data Is Crucial
Simply having access to mountains of data doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to harness it to improve patient outcomes. It’s critical that your data is stored securely, managed efficiently, and organized intuitively. If it is, you’ll be able to find the information you need and analyze it accurately to make informed decisions and further improve outcomes for your patients. If it isn’t, you’ll be left with a wealth of data that’s ultimately unusable.