In the midst of an industry shift toward value-based care and an increasing demand for “retail healthcare experiences,” health systems are struggling to remain competitive. How can organizations provide high-quality, personalized patient experiences that differentiate their facility from the hospital across town?
The answer? Health analytics. There is an enormous amount of patient data waiting at the fingertips of providers – for example, clinical, financial, consumer, and behavioral information. In fact, the amount of patient data is estimated to reach roughly 25,000 petabytes by the year 2020. Unfortunately, the majority of this data goes unused, because most health systems – 90 percent, actually – don’t have the capacity to collect and analyze this information and produce actionable clinical insights.
With the right data hub to collect data from disparate sources and synthesize this information, health systems can use analytics to influence patient outcomes, create differentiation, and drive revenue growth.
Let’s take a look at three ways that analytics can benefit the healthcare industry:
- Create a Holistic View of Patients
Creating a holistic view of patients is essential to creating personalized healthcare experiences. With access to clinical, financial, consumer, and behavioral data, health systems can develop an engagement strategy that is more likely to be effective for each unique consumer or patient.
Specifically, this data can be used to create targeted healthcare marketing campaigns that reach the right consumers and patients with the right care information, through the right communication channels. However, with the massive amount of patient data being collected from many different sources, it’s difficult to create a holistic view of each consumer or patient. This is where health analytics comes into play.
With a health analytics engine, organizations are able to optimally leverage patient data using technology that can incorporate multiple data feeds and analyze the information to produce insights. Without this technology, it would be much more complicated to aggregate all the patient data sets available and make sense of the information to drive actionable, timely decision-making that improves patient experiences.
- Improve Patient Engagement
Consumers have many options when it comes to selecting a healthcare provider. Now, patients can independently search the Internet for information about their health (including risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options) and browse nearby healthcare facilities. This abundance of research options makes it difficult to attract and retain patients.
What’s the solution? Healthcare organizations can utilize a data-driven, consumer-centric approach to emphasize personalized communication and engagement throughout the customer journey.
The customer journey refers to the steps a patient goes through as they interact with a healthcare organization. Typically, consumers and patients will follow these steps:
- Awareness: Self-assessment of conditions and symptoms that leads to online research and education, including posing questions on social media.
- Help: Initial contact with a health system via a call center, email, or mobile device.
- Care: Assessment of a health condition in a medical facility (for example, a physician’s office, or hospital.)
- Treatment: On-site and follow-up care (for example, medications or physical therapy)
- Behavioral/lifestyle change: Changes to reduce readmissions and promote proactive health
- Ongoing care/proactive health: Ongoing care management between patient visits, fostering engagement between the patient and physician and enabling the patient to better manage his or her own care
Patient engagement depends on delivering the right information to the right patients at the right time. Healthcare organizations can take advantage of customer journey mapping and health analytics to determine what messaging will be most relevant during each stage of a patient’s journey.
Health analytics also allows healthcare organizations to be more proactive. With the right patient and consumer data, health systems can leverage predictive models to identify ailments or conditions that may affect patients and offer strategies to mitigate risk, ultimately driving engagement.
- Improve Population Health Outcomes
Using health analytics is an essential factor in achieving triple aim, which the Institute for Healthcare Improvement defines as “improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing per capita costs of healthcare.”
As discussed above, health analytics can improve the care experience by consolidating patient data from a variety of sources, making it easier to engage patients, deliver personalized care, and predict a patient’s future needs to proactively help them.
An example from a previous blog post about flu season summarizes how health analytics can improve the health of populations overall:
Say it is flu season, and healthcare marketers want to make sure the population gets their annual flu shot to reduce widespread illness. Analytics allows organizations to determine which patients are at highest risk for the flu, who has or has not received a flu shot, analyze which messages are more or less effective for different groups of people (based on historical data), and make predictions about which communication channels will result in the best response rate from each group (i.e., predictive modeling).
Based on this data, healthcare marketers can then create a targeted campaign to reach these patients with information about the flu shot, which clinics offer it nearby, and other information that may urge them to get the shot.
Finally, health analytics reduces the cost of healthcare by eliminating the need for expensive generalized marketing efforts and by encouraging patients to be proactive about their health. By using analytics, healthcare marketers can target and personalize patient outreach, thereby creating more successful campaigns without wasting time and money. Health analytics can also reduce future healthcare costs by helping health systems provide tailored proactive communication. This way, providers in can prevent and treat health problems before they become more serious and subsequently more expensive.
In most organizations, the majority of collected patient data goes unused. This means that most organizations are not taking full advantage of the opportunities health analytics provides. Healthcare organizations need analytics to harness all available patient data, boost engagement strategies, and improve population health initiatives.
As a result of data-driven engagement and population health initiatives, health systems can maintain a competitive edge, improve patient retention, and boost health outcomes overall.
Gary Druckenmiller, Jr. is Vice President, Marketing Practice Lead at Evariant. He functions as lead strategist, digital marketing thought leader, and C-level executive sponsor for all Evariant’s enterprise clients, primarily focused on advising health system leadership of opportunistic methods to improve their digital presence and interactive growth potential. Prior to joining Evariant, Gary served as Vice-President for Harte-Hanks, responsible for healthcare digital strategy and deliverables, including multichannel campaigns, paid digital media, social media, CRM, and analytics. Gary has been with Evariant for eight years and can be heard often on the hospital marketing speaking circuit. Gary holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Bentley University.