Using Data Analytics for Better Health Decisions


By Anton Morrison

The current state of healthcare decision-making is like reaching into a big black box, closing your eyes, and hoping you pull out what you need.

The Current State of Healthcare Decisioning: What’s the Problem?

The current set of tools in the market don’t always make it easy or intuitive for healthcare professionals to access the facts and figures they need to make informed decisions. As such, healthcare technology professionals are looking to improve healthcare information systems so that doctors and clinicians can access high-quality, easily understood and actionable data.

The traditional decision-making process has often left physicians and other providers in the dark when it came to getting the answers they needed. In some cases, practitioners even came to expect their data management systems would deliver sub-par information. While the healthcare and life sciences sectors are getting better every day at identifying and integrating essential data points for better healthcare delivery, there is still a long way to go. 

Without the right information, professionals are unable to provide the very best care for those who put their lives in their hands. Those who want to do better are frustrated — limited by their available toolkit and unable to provide the answers patients expect. At the same time, people are spending more money than ever before on healthcare that some might consider inadequate.

According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Healthcare Outlook report, healthcare’s financial, strategic and digital challenges are increasing. In Appnovation’s experience, working with life sciences and healthcare organizations, applying user experience design principles to data analytics, complemented by a multi-pronged digital strategy, has been found to improve financial performance, operational efficiencies and the customer experience.

Leveraging Data Analytics to Make Better Decisions

Many experts agree the medical field could reduce hospital costs by better using big data analytics. Mining specific information collected from electronic health records, insurance claims, prescription orders, clinical studies, government reports and laboratory results could save money by making it easier to identify tailored preventative and predictive care measures for patients. Added to this are new, innovative tools that measure and monitor patient health. Fitbit, Life Alert ® and the Holter monitor were the first wave of healthcare data applications. However,  today’s healthcare apps are moving away from retroactive reporting towards interventions and predictive capability, and the data-related value at stake is over $300 billion, according to McKinsey & Company. Now, the question becomes, how do we streamline the many pockets of data that exist today to gain a clearer picture of a patient’s overall health needs?

Better Personalized Care

A health revolution is happening, thanks in part to patient advocacy and the emergence of more patient-generated health data. 

The growing popularity of mHealth tools (wearables, apps and mobile devices, for example) is giving patients more autonomy, control and flexibility than ever before. They can now access their health records remotely and even communicate with their providers directly using these platforms and devices. Such levels of patient engagement can reduce patient revisits and improve overall quality of care because professionals have more and better information to work with.

Take the case of a Toronto-based health network that set up an innovative patient portal. This portal obtained more than 18,000 sign-ups and tangibly helped improve patient engagement and outcomes. With such unprecedented cases of patient involvement, practitioners are benefitting. 

Many other healthcare establishments and clinics say that customer experience is their main priority. Their comments prove how critical the patient-provider relationship is. According to the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions, customer experience is even important than cost control or process improvement.

Innovation in Action

Clients such as Sutter Health, NantHealth and others have worked together with Appnovation to improve healthcare delivery and patient outcomes. Through an integrated technology system, doctors, hospitals, and health plans can now deliver evidence-based care that is more coordinated, collaborative and personalized.

Here at Appnovation, we have worked successfully with many health sciences clients on data management and analytics. One such project was with a major pharmaceutical company on an innovative new patient app. Anticoagulants are currently under-prescribed to atrial fibrillation (AFib) patients, which could increase stroke risk. Appnovation and our pharma client joined forces  to develop a solution to empower patients through data analytics. The resulting app is a shared decision-making mobile platform, helpful to both patients and clinicians. It helps patients build their understanding of stroke risk caused by an irregular heartbeat brought on by AFib (rather than a heart valve irregularities). 

This is just one of the many examples of what Appnovation has accomplished with our healthcare clients. By creating the best set of healthcare data analytics tools, we aim to touch as many lives as possible.

About The Author

Anton Morrison is VP of Experience & Design at Appnovation.

Anton has been creating effective digital experiences and strategies for some of the world’s most recognizable brands for over 20 years. His expertise runs seamlessly through design strategy, user experience, with an excellent track record of effective client relationships.