How Data Improves Decision-Making for Better Outcomes
Improved decision-making is a critical advantage for healthcare organizations. Making better use of the data they have on hand can lead these organizations to make better decisions on a variety of issues — everything from improving a patient’s care to more accurately staffing departments to meet their needs.
“Hospitals are actually making better decisions and improving care through data, and also making workflows and processes within the hospital more efficient,” Stafford says. “They're measuring them with data now and correcting them accordingly.”
Data is essential to improving care for patients. Making sure clinicians and other healthcare personnel have access to accurate, necessary data is important to the continuity of care in long-term and post-acute situations. Data also must be available to emergency medical technicians who bring patients to a hospital, as well as to follow-up-care providers after a patient is released.
New data sources are being introduced across the healthcare industry because of the decentralized nature of care, says CDW Healthcare Technology Strategist Lee Pierce. To fully take advantage of this resource, healthcare organizations should establish data governance to provide a framework for handling data. This enables a hospital to integrate data across systems so that it can be used to improve care, he adds.
One tool that can help healthcare providers make effective use of their data is a modern data platform, Pierce says. These tools, based in the cloud, enable flexibility and scalability while integrating multiple data streams into one useful pool of information for informed decision-making. They also provide data governance while enabling access to analytics capabilities, even to nonexpert users.
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Automated Solutions Ease the Staffing Crunch
Staffing shortages have been a major challenge for healthcare organizations. Many are using automation to minimize the impact of this situation while improving care. For example, some healthcare providers are implementing clinical automation tools such as virtual monitoring, artificial intelligence and computer vision. These technologies can remove some of the burdens on nurses and physicians, such as documentation chores, thus making their workflows more efficient and increasing the time they have to treat patients.
“Another area that I am seeing is contact center optimization,” says Mike Larsen, a CDW healthcare technology strategist. “We can automate and introduce artificial intelligence to the contact center, which takes the load off of the contact center staff.”
Organizations are also taking advantage of managed services to address staffing shortages. This can help organizations that have trouble hiring for roles such as security operations centers, contact centers and help desks.
Ultimately, technology has emerged as a powerful tool for healthcare providers to overcome some of their challenges. Those that deploy it effectively can see improvements in patient outcomes as well as business efficiency.
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