Salt Lake City – Data and its use are helping to improve healthcare and patient outcomes at Intermountain Healthcare, according to a new study released by the prestigious MIT Sloan Management Review. The case study found that a systematic review of data of how patients heal not only tells healthcare professionals the best ways to treat patients, but also often helps decrease the cost of that care.
The independent study looked at Intermountain’s long history of using data analytics to assess and improve patient care that extends back more than four decades, including one of the first electronic medical records in the U.S. It lists successes Intermountain has experienced in improving care in the area of cardiovascular, endocrinology, surgery, and other areas.
Intermountain continues to evaluate outcomes to see how to provide better care. These studies help track details that humans might miss by taking numerous patient records and finding patterns in care where patients improve faster and have healthier lives. It allows clinicians to focus on what is unique about the individual patient and provides reminders of the numerous steps required for any particular care plan so the focus can be on the patient and helping them.
Besides improving care, data analytics are also used to reduce cost. Often times, a single condition might have multiple treatment options. Procedures can be evaluated to identify which is best for the patient as well as if there are differences in cost. Reducing unnecessary steps, supply chain improvements, and eliminating issues that create repeat care visits can reduce costs for Intermountain, and ultimately, patients.
In the study, Intermountain acknowledges that there are some limits to data analysis, especially in something as complex as healthcare. Some healthcare patients experience one-time events, such as emergency care or orthopedic surgery. These are very individualized situations where conditions are often not very similar and thus hard to track trends or make predictions.
But leadership at Intermountain is determined to make analytics a process rather a project, and is dedicated to doing what is in the best interest of patients. Technology is everywhere, and needs to be put to use. This doesn’t just mean new treatments and procedures, but evaluating everything to ensure that people are being helped to live the healthiest lives possible.
The entire case study can be viewed at: