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How predictive analytics will revolutionise healthcare

Thor Olavsrud | July 31, 2015
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System is using Microsoft's Cortana Analytics Suite and Microsoft Dynamics to create a new type of healthcare. It will use predictive analytics to focuses on prevention, better care and cutting costs.

"Imagine you get a high blood-pressure reading," says Nathan Larson, director of Remote Medical Sensing at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. "The nurse pops up within seconds, welcomes you by name and helps you understand what it means and what you might need to do next. It amazes people. This level of proactive personal care and customer service really blows the clinical world away. It really feels like someone's got your back."

ImagineCare isn't just about physical health either. Cortana Analytics Suite boasts perceptual and intelligence capabilities that allow the system to detect a patient's emotional state. It can perform speech and tone analysis during interactions with ImagineCare nurses, and it can perform sentiment analysis on Twitter feeds and other social media to detect troublesome trends. It rounds this out with a mobile app that invites mood check-ins. Together, Larson says, these features could vastly improve the chances of catching and treating depression early.

Prevention, keeping people out of the hospital, is top goal

Dartmouth-Hitchcock's plan is to provide the ImagineCare technology platform to healthcare organizations across the country, helping to prevent people from getting sick in the first place by providing physicians with actionable data that can help them provide personal, optimal care.

"Coming to the hospital is not enjoyable for people," Dr. Weinstein says. "If we can keep them out of it, that would be great. We need to create a sustainable health system. I think what's happened with the [Affordable Care Act] is that all the policy work has been to get people insured and covered. Having insurance doesn't mean good healthcare. What about all the people who are healthy that we don't want to be sick. If I was really effective, no one would come to my hospital."

Dr. Weinstein believes that ImagineCare will help Dartmouth-Hitchcock build a health system that focuses on health, not healthcare. Such a health system is based on value, not volume, he says.

"Imagine a health system grounded in population-based strategies, not market share," he adds. "Imagine a health system that rewards quality, not quantity. Imagine a health system where patients only receive the care they want when they're well-informed."

The sustainable part is important too. Dr. Weinstein says that not only will ImagineCare deliver more personalized care and improved patient outcomes, by preventing emergency room visits, unnecessary primary care visits, hospital admissions and readmissions, it will lower the cost of care. Eventually, it could even result in lower patient premiums -- a win for patients, employers and insurance companies.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock will roll ImagineCare out to 6,000 patients in October and is already lining up health organizations throughout the U.S. to use the technology platform.

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