When we think of what is ailing hospitals, we think of constant pressures to increase their top and bottom lines. We do not see a consistent long-term strategy to engage with patients and to win their trust. In today world where data is driving most decisions, hospitals still use traditional approach to decision making. They are mired with ad hoc decisions and there is no data based approach to meeting these problems head on. Data analytics and metrics are NOT their gospel to focused growth.
Everyday many patients walk into your hospitals for various reasons. Some come in for simple health checks, some come in for some simple ailments, and some come in for procedures and hospitalizations.
But so many come in unsuspecting and they leave your hospitals not even realizing that they need to attend to some small health issues now that could snowball into something big soon. Do you really want to help them early? What about patients who have an impending health disaster? Do you want to know who they are? Do you want to connect with them early? Do you want them to trust your hospital?
With the help of Artificial Intelligence and expert systems, today we can do so much more on this front. It’s all about collecting the right information, analyzing the data to the hilt, knowing what exactly you want, and then using the right tools to get the right answers. It is not just about the right answers, its about making sure that the right connects, and personalized communications happen at the right time with the right patients.
When we surveyed 1068 patients’ data from a hospital, we found out that 182 were known diabetics and another 265 of them were known hypertensives. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. It is not just the 182 that the hospitals should be focusing on, but the 127 among them who are uncontrolled diabetics. Not the 265 only, but the 117 of them who are uncontrolled hypertensives. These patients are taking medications for their afflictions, but are unable to control their critical parameters. If left unattended, they are headed for bigger health issues.
Similarly, hospitals would really love to focus on the 78 out of the 1068 that are facing co-morbidity with both diabetes and hypertension. How about the 60 in this population that have immediate risk of complications? Knowing who they are, connecting with them early is the key to winning their trust when they need help.
What if we also knew their family histories? What if also focused not just on patients who are diabetic or hypertensive, but the ones who have a high risk of contracting these diseases? With a very high probability we know where they are headed. Helping them early and being there for them when they slip seems like an ethical approach and a sound business plan. But first and foremost, for this to happen, hospitals and clinics need to pay heed to collecting the right data.
Hospitals today spend lots of money on marketing campaigns that have a “spray and pray approach”. Instead, a more focused approach is really the need of the hour. An approach that will be rewarded, because data science also clearly articulates your success probabilities and ROI.