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BLOG: Hospitals prevent relapse with predictive analytics

Shanmuga Sunthar | Oct. 25, 2013
Singapore’s Khoo Teck Puat Hospital went on a predictive analytics journey with SAS Institute to help patients with a history of readmissions keep preventable illnesses at bay.

Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) has taken patient care beyond the traditional hospital setting. The hospital recently went on a predictive analytics journey with SAS Institute to help patients with a history of readmissions keep preventable illnesses at bay.

According to medical studies, environmental, lifestyle and behavioural factors contribute largely to patients' well-being, including their chances and speed of recovery. McGinnies et al. state that 70 percent of health determinants including quality of healthcare, social, environmental and behavioural are modifiable, while the remaining 30 percent are based on genetic predispositions which are not modifiable.

Most people are unaware that these medically unrelated factors are often the reasons behind their multiple illness relapses. As such, KTPH and SAS jointly developed a proof-of-concept project that uses predictive analytics to forecast which patients are likely to be readmitted a month in advance.

Predicting when your patients may require medical help

With support from SAS subject matter experts, a predictive analytics model was designed from ground up in collaboration with the KTPH Aging-in-Place and Healthcare Analytics teams. 

The model is powered by SAS Enterprise Miner and is used to analyse past discharge and bio-socio data of patients who recorded more than two readmissions within a six-month timeframe. The forecast was then calculated based on statistically optimised parameters to provide the hospital with a curated list of patients who are likely to be readmitted in the following month.

These results allowed the hospital to be more targeted in their home visit programme by focusing their efforts on potentially at-risk patients. This also allowed the hospital to plan and manage their staff resources more efficiently depending on the anticipated demands. 

Prevention is better than cure

"The benefits of using predictive analytics in healthcare go beyond resource optimisation, as the future of healthcare is about improving the quality of life. By anticipating when patients require medical help the most, we can direct our healthcare resources efficiently to patients' homes to provide pre-emptive medical support to them," says Lau Wing Chew, Chief Transformation Officer of Alexandra Health.

"Today's healthcare is not merely about prescribing drugs or recommending surgeries to deal with surface symptoms. It is about taking a holistic approach, by looking at the various environmental and lifestyle factors that affect a patient and how that affects his chance of recovery. When we manage these social and environmental issues in tandem with their medical problems, we can prevent unnecessary readmissions which will significantly increase our patient's quality of life, especially those suffering from chronic illnesses," comments Dr. Wong Sweet Fun, Senior Consultant for Department of Geriartric Medicine of Khoo Teck Phuat Hospital.

"Business intelligence and analytics is widely used across the region. We believe our solutions will help unravel new paradigms for the healthcare sector here, such as introducing preemptive medical care to an otherwise reactive model. This proof-of-concept project with KTPH is a testament that predictive analytics can help this sector innovate and deliver healthcare more strategically, effectively and meaningfully," says Shanmugar Sunthar, Deputy Head of Practice at SAS Singapore.

Shanmuga Sunthar is Deputy Head, Practice, SAS Singapore.


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