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5 trends in healthcare analytics for 2018
The demand for higher quality care at lower cost, among other trends, will drive the use of healthcare information technology in general and analytics applications in particular this year. Growth in efforts to engage patients and better manage patient populations also are expected to drive the need to capture data and gain insight from it. As a result, “2018 reveals a pent up demand for better healthcare IT and analytics that drive higher efficiencies in strategic planning, improved human resources, advancement of clinical quality and safety, better operations and supply chain management, and progressive finance and revenue cycle management,” predicts Andy De, senior director of healthcare and life sciences for Tableau, an analytics application vendor.

In a recent white paper, Tableau outlines significant trends in healthcare analytics for the coming year.
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Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make analysts more efficient
As artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics begin to demonstrate results in specific use cases, it will enable clinicians and care coordinators to gain more insight from population health data. “Things like care co-ordination, patient education protocols, and other processes will start to deliver dividends in patient outcomes. Population risk stratification leveraging predictive analytics will enable deeper understanding of the risks and financial implications associated with treatment protocols and decisions on a per-patient basis,” De believes.

For example, pairing data from its electronic health record with analytics enables The Cleveland Clinic to stratify their attributed patient population of 54,000 and identify the 1,000 or so multi-morbid patients most at risk of 30 day readmissions.
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Analytics will drive the accountability in ACOs
In 2018, analytics platforms increasingly will be able to aggregate data from multiple disconnected healthcare IT systems, and that will enable executive officers at provider organizations to “embrace strategic management frameworks to drive real accountability in ACOs,” De writes. Self-service, visual dashboards will power balanced scorecards, which will enable cross-organization efforts to improve transparency and collaboration. Scorecards can measure physician performance, utilization and patient satisfaction, empowering improvement efforts.

The Cleveland Clinic is using balanced scorecards in executive management systems to align the enterprise around its clinical priorities, using metrics and key performance indicators to measure progress.
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Providers will see more empowered clinical analysts
Healthcare organizations will begin to see growing numbers of physicians, clinicians and nurses armed with easy-to-use, self-service analytics. “With more healthcare workers asking and answering their own questions, the industry will start to see a paradigm shift in data-driven decision-making right at the point-of-care,” De predicts.

For example, emergency department physicians at the Texas Children’s Hospital are using self-service analytics to monitor sedation in newly born infants with cardiovascular birth defects. Having immediate access to real-time analysis and insights ensures more accurate medication dosage and mitigates risks.
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Genomics and cloud analytics will enable precision medicine
The ability to capture genomics data, store it in the cloud and later analyze it for variances will help gain demonstrable results from precision medicine, and some early returns on those efforts will begin to appear this year.

For example, Inova Translational Medicine Institute is capturing genomic profiles of newborn infants and their parents at the time of birth. With data compiled around places of birth, genetic diversity, demographics and clinical variables for cohorts of interest, the entirely of the genomic data is archived in the cloud via Amazon Web Services. Analytics deployed against these genomic profiles is helping identify specific biomarkers and variants to proactively detect and manage life threatening disorders and chronic diseases.
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Location data and the Internet of Things will provide improvements
The healthcare industry will increasingly capitalize on real-time location systems (RLTS) and the Internet of Things data to analyze the use of medical equipment and data on its use.

For example, Florida Hospital Celebration Health is using RTLS tags and sensors to provide and track improvements in inventory, security and safety products for their organization. The data gathered from these tags and sensors are analyzed in real time with visual dashboards that enable healthcare workers to take faster action.