(Originally published on Sodexo Insights)
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“Big Data,” the phenomenon every industry and professional is hailing as the next great innovation-driver, has its origins in part in the healthcare industry. In today’s fast-paced environment, Big Data is likely to play an increasing role in helping hospitals stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing healthcare industry.
In addition to advancing data-driven clinical decision-making, hospitals are using Big Data to track and inform decisions and actions in a variety of areas such as patient experience, staff work flow and the flow of medication and medical supplies, among others.
For example, hospitals are using patient tracking data to monitor the movement of a patient from admission to discharge, enabling them to identify inefficiencies or bottlenecks in the patient journey. Analyzing this data allows hospitals to identify the origin of the problem, and make adjustments, thereby helping to enhance patient experience.
Similarly, hospitals have implemented tracking systems for healthcare staff, particularly nurses. Location tracking of nurses can shed light on unnecessary trips back and forth between locations, calling out potential inefficient routines or layouts. This tracking data can also help to inform real-time staffing, resulting in a move away from the traditional, census-driven staff model to a more flexible and targeted model that considers staff workload and health as well as patient needs.
Hospitals are also using data on equipment and medical supplies to reduce shortages and create a more efficient flow throughout the facility. For example, many hospitals use a centralized data collection server to monitor supplies and medication using barcodes attached to each item. If stock is running low, the server can send out a signal to trigger automatic restocking by the appropriate staff. Supplies are restocked before they run out, so staff members no longer need to make numerous unnecessary trips between their department and the supply area.
We will continue to see data playing an ever increasing role in hospital decision making, from patient care to facilities management and beyond.
Have you seen Big Data make an impact in your field Tell us how in the comments.