What is Healthcare Data & How to Use It

What is Healthcare Data?

Healthcare data refers to all the information that is gathered during patient care. When you go to a doctor, a lot of information about your health is collected, processed, stored, analysed and disseminated. This data offers insights and supports decision-making in key areas such as medical costs, patient behaviour and pharmaceuticals, allowing companies to advance treatment methods, enhance health outcomes, and lower overall costs.

Healthcare data is not only crucial to solving local organisational issues, like reducing workloads and increasing profits of an agency, but it also helps solve global problems, such as forecasting epidemics and combating existing diseases more efficiently.

Who uses Healthcare Data and for what use cases?

Healthcare data is useful for healthcare startups, established corporations, and pharmaceutical companies for numerous reasons. It’s a powerful tool that offers them insights and helps them identify the needs within a customer or physician segment, and target geographical areas. Companies are able to make decisions with confidence, determine the right investments, and refine marketing strategies.

Clinics and hospitals are able to improve patient care, insurance providers can use it to reduce fraudulent activity, rectify false claims, provide better services to their customers and reconcile records faster. Manufacturers also benefit from it by creating better, innovative products to solve health issues, and pharmaceuticals are able to do better research and development, resulting in more effective drugs, shorter production times, and lower costs.

Healthcare data can be analysed for the following use cases:

Product Development
Developing new drugs and health-related products is a long process that requires a lot of time and money. Collecting healthcare data is a key element that allows businesses to develop innovative products for a fraction of the time and cost. Through data analysis teams are able to find useful information much faster and more efficiently, helping reduce the time needed for product development and market placement. This process removes guesswork, and create products that are more precise.

Patient Outcomes
Doctors and other medical professionals can more efficiently and accurately identify diagnosis and treatments. Rare conditions that would otherwise seem incurable are more likely to be traded, since research can progress at a much faster pace.

Operational Efficiency
Collecting and analysing data allows healthcare organisations and pharmaceutical companies in a myriad of ways. From improving employee output, to more efficient designing of workflow, to redirecting resources to where they are most needed.

Driving innovation
Innovation is crucial to advances in medicine. Healthcare data speeds up the rate at which new drugs are discovered and the quality achieved is vastly improved, consequently also reducing the overall cost of healthcare.

What are typical Healthcare Data attributes?

Healthcare data allows organisations to enhance health outcomes. Companies can track health records that include vital signs like heart rate, as well as diagnostic- related information, like laboratory test results from blood tests. Through collecting and interpreting data, companies are able to analyse profiles and demographics, and identify and target prospective members. They can assess hospital claims and prescriptions fulfilment data to create targeted campaigns for specific health conditions. Companies can also leverage pricing data against quality metrics to identify the highest value, lowest cost providers for certain procedures and services.

Ultimately, the efficient use of data helps businesses understand what is going on in the healthcare industry, identify problems, and find innovative solutions that will help reduce costs.

How is Healthcare Data typically collected?

Healthcare data is primarily collected from many different sources. It generally involves a diverse set of public and private data collection systems, including health surveys, administrative enrolment, billing records, medical records, used by various entities, such as hospitals, CHCs, physicians, and health plans.

Nowadays, the information is mostly gathered with the help of digital channels and numerous applications available in the market.

The most popular tools for gathering medical information include:

  • CRM - integrated customer relationship management systems for generating and handling general information, providing reports and analysing various issues.
  • EHR - electronic health record systems for accumulating and analysing personal patient information and generating deeper insights.
  • Mobile applications - software that runs on portable devices to connect clinicians and patients, aggregate and access information in various databases.

How to assess the quality of Healthcare Data?

When Healthcare data is correctly collected and interpreted it becomes a powerful tool that helps companies make informed decisions, cut costs and create more efficient products. A lack of access to valuable data inputs in today’s world means that in order for healthcare data to be useful, companies must be able to filter through a lot of information efficiently.

For that reason, it becomes quite challenging for organisations to pinpoint exactly where opportunities exist. So when choosing appropriate solutions for data collection, you should take into account many aspects, such as services provided, the number of doctors and patients supported, existing tools and infrastructure, and budget.

How is Healthcare Data typically priced?

Healthcare data is often available as subscription packages, however the process usually depend on each provider. They offer access to hundreds of different databases that target to each company’s exact customers by specialty, job role, location, ownership, and many other selects. Given the lack of standardization in the market, custom quotes are a common form of pricing as well.

What are the common challenges when buying Healthcare Data?

Companies need to evaluate their goals when buying Healthcare data, since there are a few obstacles when getting the right kind. Despite the overwhelming amount of data in healthcare, it’s very challenging to capture the relevant data in a cohesive way. Finding data that is precise and offers actual value is quite difficult, and considering how sensitive patient records are, properly storing them becomes critical for data security. Data stewardship is a very important aspect to consider, as there must be proper knowledge about where it was obtained, when, by who and the associated conditions. Updated information is also crucial, considering how patient care is constant, so information about each visit should be available.

What to ask Healthcare Data providers?

  • Do they offer adequate security measures to ensure that customers’ data is safely stored?
  • Do they ensure the level of accuracy and compliance required to propel healthcare businesses forward?
  • Do they guarantee continual execution of automatic and manual processes that reflects the latest profile updates and regulatory changes?
  • Do they enable you to access sales, prescription, and claims data for deeper provider insights?
  • Can their dataset be inegrated to your current business technologies and how does that process look like?

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