What drives analytics in healthcare?

According to a report by Equentis Capital, the healthcare sector in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15 % to touch US$ 158.2 billion in 2017.

“The factors behind the growth of the sector are rising incomes, easier access to high-quality healthcare facilities, greater awareness of personal health and hygiene” contributing to a huge patient pool.


 Healthcare industry stats for India (source: IBEF)

Of the total healthcare revenues in the country, hospitals account for 71 per cent. The low cost of medical services has also featured India on the world medical tourism map, attracting patients from across the world.

As the market grows, the healthcare provider industry is faced with several challenges. Increased patient demands for quality care, better services and reduced costs, vie with new entrants and approaches in a highly competitive sector. At the same time entrenched delays, inefficiencies and frauds, confront the healthcare organizations on the operational front.  This has compelled the healthcare industry globally, to transform from a volume-based to a value-based business model that integrates a mechanism for smart informed decisions. Deployment of analytics and Big Data based ecosystem of solutions are giving hospitals and care providers new data-driven advantages for better organizational delivery and decisions based on predictions.

Analytics in the Indian healthcare provider sector

The healthcare provider sector in India is a unique model – driven by a strong organized Government presence and an unorganized, but nevertheless thriving private participation. Together they form the healthcare provider industry supporting one of the largest healthcare markets in the world.

It is expected that spending by healthcare providers on IT products and services in 2014, will reach US$ 1.08 billion, a four per cent increase over 2013.

Private players like the Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Healthcare Ltd have already been making use of predictive and preventive analytics in areas of patient, disease and wellness management. Industry-wide the role of analytics traditionally restricted to the descriptive is increasingly moving on to prescriptive and preventive analytics. With application of suitable analytics tools, healthcare provider companies are fast employing historical data to explore ‘what-if’ scenarios. Embedded analytics tools are being leveraged to obtain insights for financial, operational, clinical, and service excellence.

So firms like SmartRx, SCIO Health Analytics, Data-Core India and even GENPACT, are specializing in this domain – developing customised solutions for hospital and clinic chains across the country and beyond.

With the implementation of the National Health Mission (NHM) providing effective healthcare to the urban and rural population, regulatory compliance and transparency are being made mandatory for Government hospitals in many States, making analytics deployment the norm. The Health department’s focus on trends for diseases and cancer markers across the country, have also made analytics a necessary part of every hospital or clinic administration.

Benefits of analytics for healthcare providers

When analytics is applied effectively, healthcare provider organizations (hospitals, hospital chains, clinics) can better utilise resources, save more lives, contain costs, enforce higher compliance of regulatory norms, improve services and optimize treatments.

How analytics can create healthier hospitals?

The toughest challenges for hospitals and clinics are cost containment, resource maximisation, compliance of regulations and safety considerations. These can be addressed with actionable insights from the data collected every day –operational and financial data, quality metrics, patient information, and stock inventory. The data when put to work helps tackle operational efficiency, supply chain infrastructure, insurance payments, fraud detection to patient safety. All of this is done by empowering departments to explore their own data, to reveal trends and outliers, share insights to drive collaboration decisions. Optimising operating room use and hospital beds, shortening waiting room times and maintaining streamlined supply availability are just a few places where data analytics makes a difference in service delivery.

How analytics can improve health reforms and implementation of Government polcies?

As we see the dawning of a new era of smart governance in India, the prospective of widespread analytics in the healthcare industry takes on new dimensions. Health departments in an e-governance model are able to apply analytics to discover trends in chronic and seasonal diseases, their relevance to societal markers like income levels, access to clean water and air, access to Government healthcare; for actionable insights.

Data-driven tactics and strategies can drive improved clinical quality, reduce inefficiencies in patient care, optimise resources for disease control and research, support policy introduction that help curb disease incidence, besides facilitating efficient use of finances.

Bottomline: Healthcare analytics when applied to hospitals, diagnostics and medical insurance, is the ultimate tool that can help a nation act upon trends to cut down the burden of healthcare on the society.

Takeaway: The demand for need-based solutions and analytics professionals in the healthcare domain, far outweighs the supply. So if you are a student of social sciences or are fired with a desire to make a difference to society, you can carve your niche in this area of analytics – as a part of the analytics provider industry or part of the analytics-enabled IT department of a hospital with family health benefit add-ons to your salary!


Suggested Reads:

Big Data  Analytics use cases for Healthcare 

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