Thursday, 31 May 2012

Hospital Data Analytics: Abundance of Data, Dearth of Creativity!

Consider this: A new patient comes to a hospital. He gets registered by providing his demographic data and other occupational details. During the course of time, say a time frame of 4-5 years, he visits various medical specialties for medical consultations, visits diagnostics and buys medicine from the pharmacy. If the health condition is bad, he gets admitted as well. In certain conditions, he may require admission more than once in a 5 year period. He chooses shared or single occupancy rooms for his hospital stay. There is an ‘X’ amount that this patient pays during these 5 years.

Now imagine the actual scenario of a hospital. So many patients visit a hospital and they go through a process mentioned above. Through each and every interaction with the hospital, patients are participating in a data generation process. And here I am not even touching the dust on clinical data. This one is operational and business data. Unfortunately, most hospitals lack the creativity to use this data for any purpose – be it business performance management, process optimization or service improvements. Let us look at some ways in which operational or business data can be leveraged by a hospital.

Loyalty Program: Every person needs acknowledgement, especially when he pays for a service. There are some patients who spend more money on treatments in your hospital than other patients. Unfortunately the disease-burden on such patients is much higher, yet they stay loyal to your hospital and seek costly treatments from you for a prolonged period and pay a substantial amount. What could be a better way than recognizing such individual patients and reducing their burden by offering loyalty discounts? Firstly, such a patient would be extremely happy that your hospital acknowledged his disease burden. Secondly, he will be pleasantly surprised at the reduction in cost offered to him. While the health is compromised, such patients would gain some psychological relaxation that the hospital pays attention to them and helps them in a small way. Over a period of time, this should improve the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of your healthcare services, since the word-of-mouth would indicate to other patients that it’s better to take treatment for chronic diseases at your hospitals since in the longer run, this would bring down their cost of treatment.

Preventive Health-checkups: You have got the demographic details of the patient and you know his occupation profile, age and even health history. A simple database query will get you the names of the patients who underwent certain treatments in a particular order (X-Y-Z) or visited some specialties in a particular order (A-B-C). Doctors keep talking about the new trends in ailments linked to health profile and past disease history. The same knowledge can be used to detect such trends of patient movement or treatments among patients. In such identified cases, it would be appropriate to offer customized preventive health-checkups from time-to-time. Through the preventive action, the hospital can help reduce the risk of further aggravation of the disease condition of the patients (from the known risks). This is especially true in the cases of patients at the risk of diabetes, or the diabetic patients running the risk of further complications (like cardio, dermat, ophthal etc.), or old people suffering from orthopedic problems etc.

Second Opinions: There is now-a-days a new trend in hospital marketing where hospitals are promoting second opinions. But these are specialized chains and multi-specialty hospitals haven’t really jumped into the train. But data can definitely tell which consultants are frequently visited by patients for second opinion. Special marketing programs which reduce the cost of second consultation with these consultants will bring-in more patients and predictably more conversions for that specialty.

There are many interesting ways in which operational and business data can be analysed to generate such insights for a hospital. We specialize in data analytics offerings for healthcare facilities. In hospitals where the data is not in proper shape, our experts also advise hospitals on data design to meet business requirements. With a sound data design and analysis, we enable hospitals to form better business strategies for present and future. 

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