Many healthcare organizations are already proving the value of applying analytics to medical and related data. Whether using algorithms to score patients' need and thereby improve their health outcomes, or performing real-time predictive analysis of patients in order to properly assign resources or leveraging data analytics as a way to rein in costs and improve quality, these healthcare organizations are taking the data they have, applying models, and using analytics to make things better.
It's truly a case where analytics can save lives. That's part of the reason why more than 40,000 healthcare IT professionals, clinicians, executives, and vendors will convene for the HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Conference 2017 in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 19 to 23, to learn more about analytics and other technology that can advance the healthcare practice and industry.
What are the trends that will shape this year's event, and the healthcare space in the year ahead?
Healthcare organizations are looking to apply analytics to topics such as population health, precision medicine, value-based care, and more. The industry now has more data in a digital format than ever before in the form of electronic health records (EHR). Organizations are also looking to incorporate data from health monitoring devices, adding an internet of things component to the mix.
A recent Gartner Maverick report suggests that smart devices, algorithms, and analytics are poised to transform the first line of healthcare delivery. In this scenario, smart devices will be able to track patient vitals such as blood glucose, body temperature, blood pressure, the bacteria and gases in your breath, and more. They will then be able to provide medical advice to the patient and suggest referrals or further testing if needed.
"Analytics is the backbone of it all," Laura Craft, Gartner research director and report author, told UBM Tech in an interview.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is also expected to attract greater attention in the year ahead for healthcare use cases, according to a new report from Forrester Research, Artificial Intelligence Will Help Healthcare Understand and Engage its Patients.
Forrester says that AI can help healthcare organizations advance from descriptive to prescriptive analytics.
"Most organizations have a degree of success with descriptive (retrospective) analytics," Forrester writes in the report. "We can identify our sickest, most high-risk patients, but we are not able to determine how best to engage with them. With AI we can begin to advance our analytics capabilities to personalize the interventions we roll out to patients and move from looking in the rearview mirror at what worked historically to looking at what could work in the future with predictive and prescriptive analytics."
AI has a wide range of applications in healthcare, from this kind of predictive patient care to improving supply chain automation, Forrester said.