Electronic health records (EHRs) might sound like a dated technology but it is getting a lot of attention these days. The Ministry of Communications and Information has devoted a significant part of the Infocomm Media Masterplan to Big Data and Analytics. The plan gave examples of how sensors can be used to collect the data for the national health databases and for patients across Singapore1. All the data collected can then be used to generate new insights into forecasting the health of a patient to identify new disease patterns and potentially contribute to future genomics research.
Governments are sitting up and realizing that EHRs can become more than a digital version of a paper chart. They are evolving and getting more sophisticated. One of the most promising and exciting developments of this is the integration of data discovery, or Business Discovery, and analytics to analyze and compare EHR data. Where business intelligence (BI) was once used primarily to analyze data from a business perspective - revenue cycle management, finance, supply chain management - it's increasingly being used to analyze patient data, physician performance, facility and utilization - all to improve clinical outcomes. Singapore is looking into new ways to address the healthcare challenge to provide better and more affordable healthcare in an aging society via Big Data and analytics.
We have already seen how data discovery and data analytics can improve the healthcare industry. One great example comes from Nemours Children's Hospitals in the United States. Nemours is sharing physician and nurse performance data from EHRs with doctors, nurses, their pediatric patients, and their adult caregivers. The increased visibility is creating a culture of high-performing healthcare teams as well as improved patient satisfaction and outcomes. For the first time, physicians and nurses are getting feedback from the data systems that they have been entering data into and their patients are benefiting from less waiting time, smoother care transitions and a whole better experience.
In addition to improving care, as data analytics become more integrated into health records and information systems, we're also understanding their value and necessity in positively affecting patient outcomes and meeting government standards.
Healthcare organizations now have data discovery and the ability to do user-driven analytics on Big Data such as population data sets, health records and claims records. Benefits include, faster compliance, improved quality of care, providing decision support and enhancement to the care provided to the population over time. In fact, we are already seeing leading pioneers, like Allina Health in Minneapolis, capitalizing on this by using analytics to determine the effect of different clinical pathways on patient populations and to show the value for reducing care variances by measuring and analyzing patient outcomes.
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