Patient analytics: 3 ways data can help physicians make faster decisions

Technical Writer

Today's healthcare professionals must make many decisions in a short timeframe based on a variety of different information types. These include a patient's health history, symptoms and physical examination records. Diagnoses and treatments can vary based on the quality of information available, the doctor's ability to quickly analyze it and the patient's willingness to share it.

With advanced tools that gather and assess data, physicians can better serve their patients in less time. According to CDW Healthcare, 82 percent of healthcare decision-makers say that the top clinical benefit of patient analytics is improved patient care.

Here are three ways healthcare organizations can gather and analyze data to provide doctors with better insights during appointments:

1. Gather data from mHealth applications and wearables

In a General Electric study conducted in partnership with Cleveland Clinic and Ochsner Health System, 28 percent of Americans surveyed admitted to lying or omitting information when speaking with their healthcare providers. One way organizations can increase information quality is to encourage patients to share any health data collected on mobile devices to give doctors a more accurate picture of the patient's actual habits. They can then make better-targeted lifestyle recommendations and use the information to help diagnose conditions.

A January 2015 study by Research Now found that the most popular use for mobile medical applications is to track exercise, with 60 percent of respondents using the technology in this manner. The research also found that 32 percent of users have shared this tracked data with their physician.

2. Analyze detailed drug information

For many diseases and conditions, there is no one-size-fits-all drug, and the best choice for a specific patient depends on a variety of factors. As reported in Science Life, researchers at the University of Chicago and Stanford University created summaries of 71 leading cardiovascular drugs. By using the insights gained from analytics on patient history and drug information, such as heart medication summaries, physicians can find the most appropriate drug. The study's co-author, Matthew Sorrentino, said he was able to use the information on a patient to quickly determine the best drug. He assessed specific genetic markers after the standard course of treatment did not work.

3. Use data to calculate patient risk

Doctors are constantly weighing patient risk. Instead of doing mental estimations, data analytics can provide quantifiable risk information to help doctors make the best treatment decisions. The NIH Record reported that Dr. Michael Kattan, chairman of the department of quantitative health sciences at the Cleveland Clinic, used data from previous studies to create statistic-based risk calculators on a variety of illnesses and procedures. These included the risk of complications from laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy and survival rates among patients with brain metastasis. The Cleveland Clinic currently provides the risk calculators to physicians for free so they can enter real-time patient health history and analyze the risk of certain conditions.

Patient analytics allows doctors to visualize patient information differently, as well as collect more accurate data. By determining the risk and treatment for each patient, healthcare professionals can provide personalized care based on the latest data.

Learn more about empowering care providers with data insights for healthcare and join us for announcements and knowledge sharing at IBM Insight 2015.