Healthcare Analytics Advances Medicine


The healthcare, life sciences, and medical fields all offer huge potential for advancement through the application of analytics, artificial intelligence, and other data science programs. Researchers are applying advanced analytics techniques to cancer research, precision medicine, and helping to predict and prevent conditions and diseases in patients.

That's the idea behind this month's Cartertoon by Jon Carter, which acknowledges the amazing advances we've made in science and our ability to diagnose and treat what ails us, medically.

The doctor is talking to a patient in a hospital bed and says: "Thanks to our analytics software, we can predict with complete accuracy any complications you may have in the future."

That's pretty amazing, and the insights that analytics provide in healthcare just gets more accurate as the months and years go by. Healthcare organizations are among the pioneers in really leveraging analytics to improve healthcare outcomes. There are so many success stories, and so many stories yet to be written.

The cartoon also acknowledges one of the big frustrations that remains in healthcare, however, on the other side of the coin. That's while the scientists are progressing to ensure better healthcare outcomes, we are still grappling with the right way to price and pay for healthcare as a society.

That issue is under scrutiny right now as President Donald Trump is working to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act that was put in place by his predecessor, President Barak Obama. Congress and the new president are struggling to find a compromise that can accomplish a long list of conflicting interests. Meanwhile, if you go to the hospital, or to a doctor for a procedure, it really is often difficult to get a straight answer about what something costs. You only find out after the fact when the bill arrives.

I guess it's no surprise that an issue such as healthcare pricing and billing, so entwined as it is with the politics of the day, would be deemed by our cartoonist to be the most impossible part of the healthcare process. We can treat you for your ailment.  We just don't know what it will cost or who will pay for it.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps, Informationweek

Jessica Davis has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology at titles including IDG's Infoworld, Ziff Davis Enterprise's eWeek and Channel Insider, and Penton Technology's MSPmentor. She's passionate about the practical use of business intelligence, predictive analytics, and big data for smarter business and a better world. In her spare time she enjoys playing Minecraft and other video games with her sons. She's also a student and performer of improvisational comedy. Follow her on Twitter: @jessicadavis.

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Re: A la carte
  • 5/13/2017 10:29:47 PM
NO RATINGS

Michelle, not sure you can cut too many costs without impacting care in a hospital setting. The cure would be to change mindsets in a hospital, from "filling beds" toward quality and virtual, distant care. Sensors, telepresence technologies and hardcore algorithms are all making this possible, and hospitals will catch up. Old, run-down, expense legacy hospitals will need to be shut down for nimble, new, clean, digital hospital-like settings, with many many patients not even getting into the place. Most being taken care of at home.

Re: Insurance
  • 5/13/2017 12:03:08 PM
NO RATINGS

I wonder if the codes are actually intended to confuse and so discourage comparisons and investigations of just what treatments are being given and the necessity for them. Only the insurance company can understand what's going on and will intervene to save the company money and not necessarily to benefit the patient.

Re: Insurance
  • 4/30/2017 5:12:41 PM
NO RATINGS

It's curious how that happens... Healthcare biling is such a monster, yet still a mystery to the regular folk. Coding errors seem to be common and unfixable once the coded bill is submitted. 

Re: A la carte
  • 4/30/2017 5:09:33 PM
NO RATINGS

Standardized cost with uniform terminology would be fantastic. Overhead is different with every hostpital system -- overcoming that barrier could prove to be very difficult. I can imagine there are ways of cutting costs without impacting patient care.

Re: A la carte
  • 4/30/2017 11:11:06 AM
NO RATINGS

Michelle, a menu board approach would be preferable but in practice it's impractical because most of the process is incomprehensible to most of us. I think the most viable approach is standardized cost and uniformed terminology in billing. I'm not holding my breath.

Re: Insurance
  • 4/29/2017 6:45:19 PM
NO RATINGS

I am always amazed then when a charge is questioned it seems to go away! There are few standards and the billing is subjective and based on the biller itself making all bills variable and prone to error in the medical area.

A la carte
  • 4/29/2017 3:09:08 PM
NO RATINGS

It would be great if healthcare costs were available on a menu board, rather than cloaked in mystery until a bill arrives. Perhaps AI really could help provide insight (at least until billing practices change). 

Re: Insurance
  • 4/29/2017 12:57:59 PM
NO RATINGS

@impactnow, disputed bills do tend to get rescinded or at least reduced. Most likely because they cannot be substantiated and/or no value gained in pursuing. The sad truth is most consumers are intimidated.

Re: Insurance
  • 4/29/2017 11:57:45 AM
NO RATINGS

That may be the case today... I know of a local clinic that seems to bill a lot more than others. They tend to bill over the maximum for my insurance company. I can almost always count on an extra bill from them.

Re: Insurance
  • 4/28/2017 10:26:50 PM
NO RATINGS

 

Its true medical bills are always a surprise and I find that if you dispute charges they somehow disappear. FI there was a standardized process the billing would be more straightforward but the myriad of insurance requirements make it maze for providers and patients.

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