Electronic health records revolutionized the way patient data is stored and accessed, converting records that once lived on paper or in siloed databases to easily accessible and shareable data. But accessing data is just the beginning. The real value comes from the ability to pull that data into meaningful reports that can be analyzed and used to make fact-based decisions. And that is particularly important for healthcare providers.
By the nature of what they do, healthcare providers store very important and confidential information – and a lot of it. From patient insurance records, to test results, claims information, survey data, and even supply and operational information, medical facilities rely on accurate data to make intelligent operational and clinical decisions.
Healthcare providers count on clinical analytics to help them with a variety of initiatives, including:
- ordering and managing medical supplies;
- increasing efficiencies around patient wait times, peak times and number of procedures performed each day;
- analyzing operational data for process improvements and cost justification;
- calculating patient risk from a particular medication or procedure; and
- making informed diagnoses for their patients.
Understanding medical outcomes requires analysis of a complex web of cause and effect. Technical advances and new clinical trial techniques expand treatment possibilities and efficacy, while medical and remote monitoring devices offer new data sources with unprecedented specificity into patient health.
Clinical analytics can help map genomic data to patient treatments, improve disease prevention, and promote better clinical research. The information garnered can have an immense impact on the quality of healthcare provided and has operational value as well. Done correctly, insights gained can save time, reduce costs, increase patient satisfaction and the quality of care provided, reduce legal risk and justify additional funding for research, resources, equipment and staff.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. Conducting medically relevant analytics requires integrating internal data sources with third-party patient data, and getting the data into a usable format to analyze it can be a difficult and slow process. According to Blue Hill Research, analysts spend anywhere from 40-80% of their time just getting data ready to be used, which can pull staff away from other important aspects of their jobs. In addition, this leaves those analysts with only 20-60% of their time to glean actionable insights.
As an example, one commonly used tool for storing pathology information, Cerner Copath, produces reports in Excel and PDF form. Extracting the data out of the PDF documents requires an employee to manually rekey all of the information. This can introduce errors in addition to being incredibly time consuming.
To improve and streamline this process, healthcare providers need to have the right tools in place. Altair Monarch is a vendor-agnostic platform that allows healthcare providers to easily access, clean, format and blend data from the widest variety of sources (Excel, CSV, PDF, TXT, JSON, XML, HTML and various relational databases) without manual data entry, coding or complex Excel formulas.
In addition, Monarch allows users to fully automate and significantly streamline repeatable reporting, so users don’t have to go through the same process each time they need to build a particular report. They can simply drop the updated data into Monarch, and it will be automatically entered into the correct fields. And maybe most importantly for healthcare providers, Monarch logs all changes to data, providing transparency as to exactly how the original data set was altered or used for auditing purposes.
The ability to analyze data quickly opens up a host of new opportunities for healthcare providers. Knowing they can confidently make decisions based on accurate and audit-able data eliminates any second guessing or debating over the accuracy of reports, allowing the staff to focus on the important things – such as providing valuable services to their patients.
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