How Predictive Analytics in Healthcare Saves Lives
October 10, 2019
Wouldn’t it be great if your doctor could anticipate changes in your health before they happened? With predictive analytics, a doctor could look at your charts and anticipate if you would get the flu, develop psoriasis, or have a stroke. With that kind of information, you could mitigate threats to your health. The potential exists for doctors to test babies at birth, reading their genes to develop a picture of their health throughout their entire lives.
Though some of the applications of data in healthcare haven’t come to fruition yet, many doctors and researchers are utilizing predictive analytics to improve individual health as well as overall healthcare delivery. Predictive analytics is still in its early stages, but this tool already has major positive impacts on many aspects of healthcare. Continue reading to discover what predictive analytics is and how predictive analytics and healthcare come together to improve health.
What Is Predictive Analytics?
In its simplest form, predictive analytics entails analyzing data collected in the past to predict the future. Predictive analytics systems use specially designed algorithms that combine large numbers of past data points with future projections. For example, meteorologists leverage this tool to predict the weather weeks into the future. Major retailers use it to predict how much of a new item will sell at each of their locations. Financial institutions often use predictive analytics to inform their investment choices.
Explore Predictive Analytics in Healthcare
Healthcare can utilize predictive analytics in many different ways. Hospitals, medical supply companies, healthcare networks, and other healthcare facilities all benefit from incorporating predictive analytics into various aspects of their operations.
Supply Chain Management
Healthcare facilities and networks use large amounts of supplies every day –– from needles and medications to cleaning liquids and scrubs. To avoid ordering too much or too little of a certain supply, companies can use predictive analytics to gauge how much they need.
Healthcare facilities often employ hundreds of people, from doctors and nurses to support personnel, therapists, and administrators. Maintaining a stable staff-to-patient ratio is crucial, and facilities must avoid being short- or overstaffed. Predictive analytics can help management project how many people should be scheduled at different times of the day, week, or year.
Cybersecurity professionals use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to boost data security. Data security is critical in healthcare, since servers that share data across networks and facilities store patients’ records and other sensitive data. Data and cybersecurity professionals analyze past threats to anticipate and prevent future cybersecurity issues.
Reducing Costs and Increasing Profits
A major benefit for hospitals and other organizations that use predictive analytics in healthcare is saving money. Companies with efficient supply chain management and scheduling that don’t have data breaches or lose patient information can keep costs down. This reflects well on leadership while improving healthcare delivery and fostering trust among patients and staff.
How Can Predictive Analytics in Healthcare Help People?
Not only does predictive analytics benefit healthcare organizations, but it is also good for the people those facilities treat. Patients reap the benefits of predictive analytics in several different ways.
With enough data points, predictive analytics engines can predict large-scale patterns in healthcare and medical needs, such as how many flu vaccines a particular area will require that season. In turn, patients receive the care they need without worrying about a treatment’s availability.
When patients utilize care providers that leverage predictive analytics, they receive the added benefits of lower facility costs and proper scheduling. For patients, that might translate to lower costs and on-time appointments so they never experience gaps in their care. This results in higher patient satisfaction ratings.
Development of New Medicine
Medical researchers are still learning how different chemicals and compounds interact with the body and how they can use those substances to treat diseases. Predictive analytics helps researchers develop a better understanding of what combinations of compounds or medications might work on certain conditions so they can more narrowly target their research.