South Africa has an estimated R350-billion annual health care industry, with the department of health moving towards e-health solutions in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.
However, despite the pervasive global trend towards digitisation, there is still minimal big data and business intelligence (BI) activity in the medical ranks which could relieve an already hampered healthcare sector.
Current business trends point to data as a supreme asset across all industries. The multi-faceted medical industry naturally lends itself to being a highly data driven sector.
Keyrus South Africa’s Dr Vanessa Korb says: “While the volume of health care data is growing at an exponential rate, limited actionable insights leave healthcare organisations data rich but information poor.”
The challenge is how this information is harnessed to optimise operations and cut costs. In 2013 management consulting company, McKinsey and Company, reported a conservative estimate of a $350-billion to $400–billion annual healthcare cost saving across the US using data analytics.
Korb says: “If we extrapolate this to our increasingly burdened public health sector and the prohibitively expensive private sector, we need to continuously strive to reduce costs. We believe this can only be done by adopting healthcare analytics as a business tool.”
In general, analytics can be effectively used across the financial, operational and clinical sectors of a healthcare organisation. BI brings simple but powerful visual analytics that allow users to look at their data and make informed, realtime, data driven decisions that will ultimately transform patient care. “Meaningful clinical and operational problems literally jump out, begging for remedial action,” Korb says.
Keyrus SA (formerly BIPB South Africa) specialises in data intelligence, digital experience and management and transformation, across multiple disciplines and industries to deliver overall business solutions and data intelligence. Keyrus SA is able to develop analytical solutions for notable areas using award-winning software like Qlik in the health care sector. These include profit analysis, readmission, length of stay metrics, clinical pathways, patient costing and clinical variations across hospitals, surgical theatre productivity and monitoring of disease outbreaks.
The company is currently working on an electronic patient management system (EPMS) which integrates all of a patient’s information into a secure, single repository. The system will improve the clinical care continuum through enhanced collaboration between physicians, reduced duplicate lab testing, lower risk of adverse events through more complete information and trend analysis for improved disease monitoring, all while providing a physician with remote access to the information. US studies have shown an electronic medical to reduce documentation time by up to 45%, freeing up a physician’s time for direct patient care.
Said Korb: “With the use of big data on the increase, it’s an exciting time for healthcare analytics. The medical industry is awash with valuable data which health care organisations can use to become more efficient and productive, ultimately providing better care for their patients.”