HealthWare Systems Blog

Revenue Cycle Management Solutions: 5 Benefits of Healthcare Analytics

Posted on Thu, Jun 16, 2016

With the healthcare Internet of Things gaining steam and the amount of healthcare data multiplying every day, hospitals and healthcare systems need to find effective and efficient ways to manage and use all of their patient data. It’s one thing to use data for a singular purpose: to deliver care. But when an organization initiates additional uses for all of that data, it’s important to develop a strategy and specific targets.

A key target outcome for healthcare analytics data is to improve revenue cycle management. The opportunity for this is significant — in fact, the New England Healthcare Institute estimates that $700 billion in revenue is lost annually the by US healthcare industry due to waste and inefficiency (source), including:

  • $290 billion from patient medication adherence
  • $179 billion due to unexplained variations in care
  • $137 billion because of medication misuse and errors

However, a KPMG survey of healthcare facilities found that only 10 percent of healthcare professionals use advanced data analytics tools with both analytic and predictive capabilities. Compounding the challenge, 80 percent of medical data is unstructured, and held in content such as emails, physician notes, lab results and discharge summaries, according to IBM.

So how can healthcare organizations begin to organize their vast data resources, and use analytics to make real, lasting impacts on their revenue cycle?

While massive data analytics programs may be feasible for a select few organizations, the reality is that smaller, more discrete projects that use analytics will make the competitive difference for the majority of healthcare organizations. The key will be to synthesize raw clinical and financial data into clearly defined opportunities to improve performance, care, and the bottom line.

Several of these opportunities to utilize healthcare analytics include:

  1. Finding and Reducing Inefficiencies

By identifying the data and trends related to inefficiencies in your facility, you can understand what is causing those inefficiencies and establish a solution to resolve them. This may relate to staff scheduling, poor wayfinding, indirect or ineffective communications, scheduling inaccuracies or delays, time spent on registration, or many other factors. Each facility is unique and will have its own opportunities. Find them, and you are one big step closer to making a positive impact on your revenue cycle.

  1. Reducing Unnecessary ER Visits

By identifying patients that have repeat visits to the ER in a single year, due to chronic illness or other conditions, and collaborating with their primary care physicians to ensure that they receive regular preventative care, the number of unnecessary ER visits can be reduced. The results are lower overall healthcare costs and reduced hospital admissions. A win-win for hospitals and patients.

  1. Eliminating Unnecessary Testing

Using healthcare analytics to assess the outcomes of specific costly tests, it is possible to identify situations in which the tests are not needed. Perhaps a precautionary test that is part of a standard procedure for diagnosing a specific condition hasn’t had a single positive result over the past 5 years. That data could make it easy to remove the costly test from that diagnostic procedure, saving significant cost and establishing a more direct diagnostic path for the patient.

  1. Forecast Spikes in Inpatient Census

By assessing past data trends, hospitals can begin to predict census spikes. By idenfiying these events in advance, facilities can ensure sufficient staffing, maintain the quality of care, and prevent high-cost temporary and overtime pay.

  1. Reducing Readmissions and Adverse Outcomes

By analyzing the data surrounding readmissions and adverse outcomes such as unplanned returns to surgery, returns to critical care, and urinary tract infections, providers can understand the primary causes of these events and identify methods to reduce or prevent their occurance (and avoid the subsequent financial penalties).

Getting a handle on all of this data can be a difficult and time-intensive process, as data is often fragmented across a variety of information systems (e.g. electronic health records, faxes, laboratory systems, radiology systems, spreadsheets, etc.). Finding a partner to help assimilate and manage your facility’s data, and turn it into something useable, can help you start seeing the return on your data analytics.

HealthWare Systems’ ActiveXCHANGE enables easy data management and integration with any and all hospital data systems. Contact us to learn more about how ActiveXCHANGE can help with your data analytics.