Business Intelligence and Healthcare Data
Around the world healthcare organisations are under increasing pressure to deliver a high level of care in the face of the current economic climate and an increase in demand for their services. Advances in technology and significant improvements in medicine have resulted in a population that is living longer, but an increasingly frail population has put even more stress on Accident and Emergency (A & E) departments.
In the short term healthcare organisations are trying to find ways to maximise the efficiency of their resources, whilst also making long-term plans to tackle preventable conditions. In the UK the NHS introduced the 111 non-emergency telephone number to try and decrease the number of people being admitted to A&E. In the long term it requires a more significant shift in attitude and the UK Government launched several initiatives, including the Change4Life campaign, which encourages people to exercise and eat more healthily. To maintain a high level of service, healthcare organisations are investing in new technology, but are also looking at ways to use their healthcare data to improve the quality of care. Dashboard reporting software can provide organisations with tools to analyse healthcare data, but also operational and financial data. Research has shown that finance professionals often struggle to analyse and report on their data, which is one of the reasons they were some of the early adopters of business intelligence software. Finance and operational professionals in the healthcare industry would equally benefit from the ability to be more proactive and have a clear and up to date picture of suppliers’ performance, and the budget, at their fingertips.
The healthcare industry has lagged behind, but has gradually moved towards having more information stored electronically rather than on paper. This more efficient approach has led to numerous benefits, including the ability to analyse large amounts of clinical data around specific conditions or treatments. A business intelligence dashboard can turn millions of records into an interactive chart which makes it easier to interpret large data sets at a glance, as well as identify trends over time. Clinicians can also use charts to show more clearly if a method of treatment is working, across any group of patients, and query the data in a way that shows the results in an easy to read fashion. The healthcare industry has been slow to adopt, but the usefulness offered by BI ensures that it will be an important and integral tool in the future.