Healthy Analysis Required For Health Care Data

Turning health care data into meaningful insight means getting the right information into the right hands, which leads to economic growth.

Health care generates an abundance of data, Big Data. Yet, according to a study by HIMSS Analytics, less than half of hospitals are taking full advantage of technology to analyze the information and make it actionable. That, coupled with the exponential growth of Big Data and the fact that health care accounts for roughly 30 percent of the world’s data, reveals there is tremendous value within the sector. In fact, health care data usage alone is valued at $300 billion over the next decade.

“One of the greatest management challenges is the complexity and fluidity of the health care system, requiring advanced clinical and business intelligence systems for decision making, particularly in the world of growing structured and unstructured data sources,” says Joe Woodside, Ph.D., assistant professor of business intelligence and analytics at Stetson University. “Big Data in health care not only represents the growth of data, but also the potential value available through the use of data.”

For example, in a recent article in the Journal of Healthcare Information Management, Woodside discussed integrated care intelligence—a combination of integrated care management and business intelligence, or social and technical components.

“It is a well defined and coordinated set of targeted services delivered to individuals by cooperating care providers across organizations, and supported by applications and technologies,” cites Woodside. Such systems’ thinking processes are increasingly being applied to areas of health care, such as quality and redesign.

Woodside’s development of a multidimensional view of quality and an analytical framework for managing organizational quality allow hospitals and other health care providers to determine the best course of action to address stakeholder requirements for patients, employees and shareholders. Literature has shown the right information in the right hands leads to improved quality.

However, to get the right information into the right hands, and thereby to garner the greatest value out of Big Data, requires analysis of the data. But skilled analysts, who know how to turn systems data into meaningful insights, are in short supply, according to Woodside.

An Accenture report on finding analytical talent shows the U.S. is producing only half the demand for analytical experts. To address this shortfall, organizations are partnering with educational institutions to update curriculum, design career paths and increase visibility among university recruiters.

At Stetson University, the talent transformation process is well underway with new courses and curriculum focused on business intelligence and analytics within specific application domains and industries such as health care.

“The health intelligence knowledge and research stream within Stetson’s business intelligence and analytics programs represents an opportunity for health care companies to take advantage of student interest in clinical, business and technical career paths,” Woodside says. “Existing courses in business intelligence and analytics are the core of the curriculum, allowing us to extend key courses to health care management, health care informatics, and integrative health to complete degree or certificate programs and develop health care industry ready talent.”

“Given increases in demand for talent to analyze the data, health care organizations should be seeking university partnerships to develop focused curriculum programs, research projects and placement opportunities,” comments Tom Schwarz, Ph.D., dean of Stetson’s School of Business Administration. “The growth of the health care industry in Central Florida provides a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the regional economic growth of the area and attract leading organizations and professionals to the area.”