• CraigRhinehart

Healthcare Delivery Innovation Needs to Happen Faster

Updated: Feb 19


healthcare data innovation


It continues to bother me that the transformation of using analytics to enable better care delivery is taking too long. Not enough organizations are aggressively embracing this model despite the types of outcomes that are now within our reach.


Community Data + Social Data = Comprehensive Insights


It’s been over four years since Doctor Atul Gawande opened everyone’s eyes to the power of combining community (social) data with clinical data to identify which patients are the most in need of care. In case you were lost in Antarctica, the New Yorker article, The Hot Spotters, was groundbreaking. It opened our eyes to the value of non-clinical sources and types of information. As an example, if you are trying to reduce infant mortality, it would certainly be handy to analyze which infants live in buildings that still have lead paint.


It goes without saying … the sooner you figure out who is in the most need, you can intervene to get the best possible outcome. This might seem simple but the real magic comes from combining different types (structured, unstructured) and sources of data (clinical, social programs, environmental) that can unlock new and powerful insights.


In her recent book, The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More is Getting Us Less, Dr. Elizabeth H. Bradley from Yale University asserts that when you combine social services spending with healthcare spending you can achieve more. Unlike the rest of the world, the United States' archaic division of health and social services is hurting our outcomes. The book offers a unique and fresh perspective on the problems the Affordable Care Act won’t solve. She also asserts that 60% of outcomes can be attributed to social, environmental, and behavioral.


Analytics & Care Magagement


At IBM, we have seen similar eye-popping results when combining different types and sources of information. I have blogged about some of these examples:

  1. How Do Data Loopholes Slow Down the Treatment of Breast Cancer?

  2. Playing The Healthcare Analytics Shell Game

  3. Healthcare Analytics – What’s Up Doc? (part 1 of 2)

  4. Healthcare Analytics – What’s Up Doc? (part 2 of 2)

As we talk to State healthcare officials, it seems while almost everyone is embracing some flavor of analytics and care management … many seem to assume they only have limited access to data though, usually claims data.


It’s time to start thinking outside of the box.


State governments are in a unique position. They have access to unique sets of data (social programs, environmental, safety, crime, others), that when combined, can deliver the kind of outcomes that Dr. Gawande was talking about over four years ago. The extra effort required to collaborate and share data is well worth the opportunity to achieve these types of outcomes.


What do you think? Leave your comments and comments below.

#insights #CognitiveComputing #cancer #atulgawande #analytics #newyorker

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