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Patients, please: Delivering better outcomes with smart, modern healthcare analytics

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Patients, please: Delivering better outcomes with smart, modern healthcare analytics


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Healthcare providers face a tsunami of healthcare-related data. It comes from clinicians’ data entry, sophisticated medical devices, web-based health communities, electronic health records (EHRs), insurance records, prescriptions, and patient surveys. Extracting knowledge from this data is a major challenge for healthcare organizations, especially in the face of HIPAA and IRB requirements for privacy — a challenge addressed by healthcare analytics solutions.

As you seek ways to use data to improve patient outcomes, your organization needs to leverage the analytics solutions more prevalent in other industries. With the worldwide adoption of EHR, you may be eager to use better analytics to identify patient disease patterns and progression. Or you might want to use data from health social media sites such as Daily Strength and PatientsLikeMe to research healthcare decision support and patient empowerment.

The self-service business intelligence (BI) tools that have reached the marketplace in the last decade may seem tempting for addressing these challenges. These basic tools do create beautiful dashboards that give everyone from surgeons to hospitals a quick answer to “What is happening?” to their patients or in their facilities. But while finding out what is happening is useful, it falls short as soon as the question becomes “Why is it happening?”

You need to know why — and healthcare analytics tells you

Delivering patient-centered care requires a new way of uncovering insights that goes beyond showing you visualizations of how many beds are available or how many patients get flu shots each month. Basic BI tools cannot help you with the clinical decision-making and patient-centered therapy needed to make sure patients are getting not just treatment, but true disease and condition prevention.

In addition, some of the people using these tools may not be very skilled with them, and even those who do know how to use them might be taking the wrong approach. For example, they could be using correlations to prove causation, or KPIs to explain outcomes. Then there is the pervasive risk of users who look at data through the lens of their own bias, which can keep them from getting to the real answers or making innovative breakthroughs. This raises the question: is your organization hearing what it wants to or what it needs to from the data?

A new kind of analytics for healthcare

How can your organization make the unbiased decisions that could save lives and prevent diseases? It takes a new breed of analytics that infuses traditional BI with “smarts.” “Smarts” sounds cute, but it it’s just a simpler way of saying augmented intelligence. With augmented intelligence, you get data analytics tools that can learn and adapt to individual needs and, more importantly, guide users to new answers and insights while removing from the equation the human bias that can cloud thinking and prevent real discovery.

The result? Analytics that goes far beyond descriptive dashboard reporting and puts advanced analytics, smart data discovery, natural language queries, and sophisticated data storytelling capabilities in the hands of every data-driven professional in your organization. Everyone works more efficiently and effectively, and your organization is better able to meet the needs of healthcare professionals, the community at large, and, most importantly, patients.

Think of the benefits of being able to monitor data from EKGs and warn a physician when a patient is at risk of a dangerous cardiovascular event. That’s what a US clinical research center was able to do. Or imagine following the model of a European hospital that used smart analytics to identify simple-yet-costly procedures that could be delivered more effectively by local health centers, enabling delivery of world-class care at a sustainable cost level. To better understand the real-world results possible with smart analytics, check out this case study on North York General Hospital.

Cognos Analytics delivers better healthcare analytics

The modern, AI-driven solution delivering these results is IBM Cognos Analytics. Our flagship BI software has been completely reconceived to include machine learning, automated pattern detection, intelligent and interactive dashboards, and simple, reusable, drag-and-drop reporting. Here’s an example drawn from the retail industry:

Beautiful visualizations will show you how patients are responding to treatment, how your clinic is providing more targeted care, or how effective a combination of telemedicine and online portals is for enabling patients to take charge of their health.

Most importantly, Cognos Analytics takes your data and turns it into insights that everyone — from nurse practitioners to neurosurgeons to the C-suite — can trust and act on with confidence.

To find out more about Cognos Analytics and what it can do for your healthcare organization, register for our November 29, 2018 webinar, “Leverage the Analytics Cycle for Smarter Healthcare.” Meanwhile, you can learn much more through our interactive SmartPaper, “The next wave of business intelligence.

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