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Healthcare organizations can leverage data mining to improve operations

Rachel Wheeler

May 1, 2012

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As healthcare organizations and processes become more complex and integrate with innovative technologies, administrators can use data mining to make predictive analyses of trends that can positively affect return on investment and customer relations. However, data quality is essential for these processes to be effective, according to a Becker Hospital Review report.

The first step to using data mining to drive decision-making in a healthcare organization is to create a data warehouse that will act as a repository for all accumulated information. This storage unit will be the foundation for all analytics. The use of data archiving is becoming popular in the healthcare industry because companies traditionally housed large amounts and varying types of information in multiple systems, causing firms to lose data more frequently and limiting their ability to gather accurate insight, the news source reported.

Now, healthcare facilities can use financial data mining to collect account, claim, transaction, billing and reimbursement records specific to patients and hospitals. As a result, administrators can make more informed decisions on what changes need to occur within the organization, Becker Hospital Review noted.

Traditional healthcare analytic solutions were retrospective, causing improvements to be made well after they were needed. Reports derived from real-time, high-quality data mining, however, allow healthcare administrators to make intelligent decisions that are highly accurate and relevant, the news source said. As a result, necessary protocol changes can be implemented much more quickly.

Additionally, the healthcare industry can use data mining to research staff productivity, efficiency and how they correlate to patient satisfaction. The economy is causing hospitals to hire fewer staff members and, as a result, the need for correct resource prioritization is more vital than ever. The key to being able to distribute assets effectively is to analyze concise information through data mining, Becker Hospital Review noted.

According to an iHealthBeat report, healthcare organizations are looking to analyze information more efficiently, especially with the influx of big data and the growing use of electronics medical records.

"The most innovative health care organizations and [health IT] companies are looking beyond meaningful use to big data - how to exploit data from [electronic health records], genomics and medical knowledge stores to bring better clinical decision support and rapid research to bear," healthcare expert John Sharp told iHealthBeat.

By using data mining, organizations can make more informed adjustments to strategies without worrying about encountering unforeseen problems.

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