Not all hospitals are created equal. Due to resource constraints, many hospitals do not have access to the same quantity or quality of resources as their larger peers. The variation in resources available, among other factors, can lead to a disparity in the standard of care across organizations. For hospitals that may feel ill-equipped to meet their goals or are scratching their heads to figure out where to start, there may be a solution: data. The ability to leverage data analytics to derive meaningful insights presents an opportunity to level the playing field across healthcare organizations so patients can receive the same standard of care, regardless of where they receive treatment.
Thus, the issue becomes one of data accessibility. Some organizations have chosen to invest in newer technologies or build dedicated analytics teams to start or continue their data-centric journey, but the disparities between the data-focused and the data-distracted are large. Organizations that focus on big data analysis can expect improved patient outcomes as well as other measurable improvements.
The solution to this issue is data equity. One way to achieve it? Using tools that centralize and simplify a healthcare organization’s ability to collect, aggregate and analyze data to then translate it into digestible, actionable insights. Tools like these empower all healthcare organizations to make supported decisions, ultimately leading to a higher standard of care and a positive impact on patients, staff and the bottom line.
Knowledge is Power: The Impact of Data-Driven Decision Making
Holistic data analytics allows healthcare leaders to put their finger on the pulse of their organization. It allows them to appropriately allocate time, money and resources to initiatives that align with their organization’s goals. This triggers a positive feedback loop: actionable insights provides more informed clinical decision making which leads to improved patient outcomes and improved financial performance, which enables further investment and reliance on data analysis.
For example, when historical patient records are analyzed, patterns emerge. Clues and common precursors to severe life-threatening events can be identified before they escalate in future cases. Over time this leads to better patient outcomes, like shorter inpatient stays. For front-line healthcare providers, this means feeling more empowered and supported in their roles and providing higher-quality care. A secondary benefit, happy staff are a lot less likely to jump ship.
The Changing Landscape of Data Analytics
In the age of information, data literacy is vital. And healthcare organizations generate a vast amount of data every day. Traditionally, analyzing it en masse has been a manual, tedious process. However, as technology continues to advance, making analysis faster and easier to understand, there’s scant reason to let it go to waste. Even in the few years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this process has accelerated. On top of technological advancements, there has been an attitude shift in favor of analytics and a bigger adoption and reliance on cloud-based computing.
The pandemic revolutionized the way that all organizations had to approach their structures, systems and daily operations. One common effect seen in the healthcare industry is that many hospitals are now more comfortable not only with outsourcing data to external data analytics platforms but also with storing functions and information in the cloud.
With this outsourcing, many are discovering that data mining does not need to be an expensive and manual process. Surely, it is an investment—but one in the organization’s future. Investment in data literacy has the capability to boost the bottom line and positive patient outcomes alike.
A centralized platform designed to handle the immense amount of data that healthcare organizations create—like HealthStream’s Learning Analytics—benefits the entire industry. When analytics become progressively more accessible, standardizing the level of quality care becomes attainable and healthcare organizations and patients alike stand to benefit.
About Aaron Hays, Product Manager, Reporting and Analytics
As the Product Manager of reporting and analytics, Aaron focuses on the proliferation of data analytics in healthcare including the complexities and peculiarities of big data and the benefits it can bring to data-focused organizations. He has proven success building systems and applications to support the proliferation of information in healthcare to enable more informed decision making and improved outcomes. He executes HealthStream’s mission to develop the people who deliver care by seeking to leverage proven leadership, technical and commercial skills to develop and launch innovative solutions. For more information, please visit https://www.healthstream.com/.