Technology has become an integral part of life and can now be found in just about every industry. It helps to greatly improve efficiency, production, developments and procedures – however, the healthcare industry has been among the slowest to fully integrate technology.
There are a number of factors that contribute to this slow adoption rate, with cost and complexity leading the way. Nevertheless, medical technology companies have evolved, and the technology that is being created can be used to drastically improve some of healthcare's most pressing issues. One of the most useful byproducts of using technology is Big Data and analytics. Big Data provides tremendous insight into patient behavior and can help personalize and tailor care directly to a patient's unique needs through actionable analytics, or the discovery and communication of meaningful patterns into data that lead to action.
Using actionable analytics is critical for reducing readmissions, improving the delivery of healthcare and fulfilling the Triple Aim. Hiring more staff and adding more labor to the problem not only increases complexity for coordination, but it also introduces more human variability into the processes. Equally as important is the fact that labor is incredibly expensive. The current healthcare system is wrought with waste and excess spend, duplicate tests, manual processes and errors. With actionable analytics, healthcare delivery services can be provided more efficiently to the right patient at the right time at lower costs – ultimately, reducing errors and redundancies.
One of the most notable examples of a technological innovation utilizing actionable analytics can be seen with Nest's Thermostat (now owned by Google). Nest was among the first to harness human behavior and turn it into actionable analytics that are making technology “smarter.” It now learns and detects when a person is home or away, when they want their home cooler or warmer and by how much – just by tracking and monitoring actions. Then it adjusts automatically. Many technology companies have followed suit, making “smart” technology mainstream, which is helping to personalize our lives.
This innovative trend exploded onto the tech scene and has been making its way into other industries, including healthcare, ever since. Understanding patient behavior on a personal level can significantly help reduce costs and length of stay, and improve patient outcomes. And even though the adoption rate of technology in healthcare has been slower historically, the times have changed and patients are now benefitting from providers who adopt technologies that deliver actionable analytics.