Data Analysis Reveals that Nutritional Supplementation Can Significantly Reduce Patient Hospital Stays

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A recent study from Abbott showed that when patients are given an oral nutritional supplementation during their hospital stay, the length of the patients overall hospital stay is reduced.  Based on the results of this data analysis, patients will be capable of returning to their homes sooner, and hospitals and insurance companies will also experience significant cost savings.  Further, for patients with a previous history of hospital readmission, this risk was reduced when they were given the nutritional supplement during their previous hospital stay.

 

About the Research Study

Data collected from 2000 to 2010 from over one million adult patients was closely examined. Specifically, the information regarding patients who took the oral nutritional supplement and patients who did not take a supplement was compared and analyzed using modern advanced analytics tools.  From this information, it was discovered that patients who took the oral nutritional supplement stayed in the hospital’s care 2.3 days less than patients who were not provided with that supplement. In turn, the healthcare system saved twenty-one percent, or $4735, per patient.

 

“Because oral nutritional supplements are formulated to provide advanced nutrition and calories for patients and are relatively inexpensive to provide, the sizeable savings they generate make supplementation a cost-effective therapy,” concluded one of the researchers, Tomas Philipson PhD, and the Daniel Levin Chair of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

 

Conclusions from this Data

In general, patients with any type of nutritional deficiency usually have a more difficult and longer recovery time. In turn, this situation can result in more health-related complications and higher healthcare costs.  As the data analysis reveals that oral nutritional supplements can help patients and decrease healthcare costs, this practice may well become more widely adopted in the future.

 

Larisa Redins

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Data Analysis Project Can Diagnose and Prevent Premature Births

GNS Healthcare and the INOVA Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI) at the INOVA Fairfax Hospital recently announced that these organizations will partner to create and distribute computer models that can both diagnose and prevent preterm births. As the INOVA Fairfax Hospital has a significant amount of data regarding the clinical outcomes and the genetic background of premature babies, this partnership is a mutually beneficial one.  These computer models will then be licensed to biotechnology companies, researchers, and other health care organizations who can use and expand on them.

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Background Information

About 12% of all babies are born prematurely and sadly, approximately 10,000 of these babies die on an annual basis.  Besides the emotional toll on families and medical staff, when babies are born prematurely there is also an added cost to the US healthcare system of about $28 billion annually.

 

How the Computer Models Work

The computer model utilizes advanced machine learning algorithms and other related means to draw links between genetic information and premature births.  These computer models analyze data that include clinical, genetic, and behavioral factors; then, doctors, researchers, and other healthcare professionals try to make sense of these complex medical interactions. These conclusions will then, in turn, lead to greater knowledge and benefits in the treatment of preterm infants.

 

Results of the Data Analysis

These healthcare professionals can develop new healthcare treatments and diagnostic tools that can help prevent preterm births.  At the same time, these same healthcare professionals can also discover new tools and treatments for other conditions that include diabetes, autism, obesity and other diseases.

Without a doubt, this health-related data analytics project will certainly affect the lives of many people in a positive manner and save the healthcare system a significant amount of money.

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Vets Use Analytics Effectively

My wife and I took our two dogs, Cody, an eight-year-old Siberian Husky, and Sheba, a six-year-old Maltese, to the vet this morning.  He was a new vet for us; our having moved to another city last year and the former vet, who we really liked, is now 50 miles away.  We’re also impressed with the new one and a ready grasp of analytics was one of the reasons. Veterinarian Petting Dog As he was explaining things to us, including heartworm medication and other ailments our dogs could befall, he was quoting statistics regarding a variety of issues about pets.  One thing he said, among several that caught my ear, was that mosquitos–which carry heartworms, deadly to pets of all kinds–never travel more than about one mile in their lifespan.  Thus, unless there is a heartworm positive animal within about a mile of your home, the odds of your pet getting them are very slim.  However, the odds are too great so we got the heartworm medicine anyway, as usual.   He also spoke about other statistics concerning our pets–really members of our family, especially since our youngest son moved away last year.  He knew the average lifespan of both breeds, their habits and personalities, etc.  This obviously was the result of much experience and study of a host of analytics.  Like their human-care counterparts, veterinarians make excellent use of analytics.  That’s reassuring for folks who care for their family member animals. –Warren B. Causey

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Can a Cloud-Based Heart Monitor Actually Shorten Hospital Stays?

Just recently, a firm called Web Biotechnology created a new type of heart monitor that utilizes the cloud to collect medical data in real time.  In addition to providing excellent patient monitoring, the device’s inventors believe that it will also shorten patient hospital stays.  In turn, patients will be able to return to their families at home more rapidly and hospitals and insurance companies will save money due to these shorter hospital stays.

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About the Cloud-based Medical Device

Called the “Spyder”, this device very recently received CE certification.  In other words, this invention can now be promoted and sold within the European Union.  The device, which has the power to possibly replace remote monitoring systems in hospitals, offers a less cumbersome approach to monitoring patients.  Instead of using bulky equipment, a cloud-based sensor is used; and moreover, the Spyder can readily hold significantly more information than the more traditional remote monitoring systems (in fact, traditional systems are capped at 48 hours).

 

How does it Work?

This device utilizes a sensor that attaches to the chest of a patient. The sensor then connects via wireless internet to a mobile device that displays ECG signals and transmits these signals securely to the cloud.  With only one charge, this sensor has the ability to monitor a patient’s heart rhythms for up to three days.  Moreover, the Spyder device can be used to detect heart palpitations – including any abnormal heart beats or rhythms.  This information is then sent wirelessly to the cloud and here, various algorithms are used to analyze this patient information.

Doctors and other relevant medical personnel can then get direct access to this health data by using a web-based interface.  Prior to the invention of this technology, doctors had to wait for patients to first return any recording device for it to be downloaded.  However, with this Spyder device, any data analysis can occur while the patient is still wearing the sensor.

 

Monitors Patients across the Globe

Moreover, as this info can work via any smart phone and a wireless connection, international remote ECG monitoring is now a reality.  For example, a patient can be in France while his or her doctor can readily access the patient’s information from Singapore. While this product is currently available in Malaysia and Singapore, Web Biotechnology is planning to sell the product in both the Asia Pacific and Europe shortly.

 

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Deficit Talks to Force More Savings From Health Care

If you thought the Affordable Care Act,  better known as Obamacare, was the last word in health care reform, forget it.  Deficit reduction talks in Washington are focused on squeezing significant savings out of the U.S health care system in a way that tries to preserve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid enrollees.

While Republicans and Democrats remain at odds over just how much money to cut from federal health programs over the next decade, experts on both sides agree there’s a lot to be gained by reducing wasteful spending in the health system.

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Former Federal Reserve Governor Alice Rivlin at a recent conference sponsored by the “Fix the Debt” campaign summed up the feeling of many budget and health experts about the current deficit negotiations and the future of  U.S. health care as well as Medicare and Medicaid.

Rivlin called the deficit negotiations,  which are aimed at avoiding a year-end “fiscal cliff” of  spending cuts and tax increases,  an opportunity  “to improve our health care system so that it delivers more and better health care than it is delivering now, but at a cost that is not rising so fast.”

She called the current fee for service reimbursement system the “villain” in the health care cost drama and urged greater efforts to shift the system toward rewarding care quality rather than the number of services rendered.

To be sure, Obamacare included provisions aimed at lower costs for Medicare while trying to improve the quality of care. The federal government has already started implementing rules to encourage formation of Accountable Care Organizations and to punish hospitals with high readmission rates.

As budget negotiators look to wring more costs out of the system while trying to preserve benefits and improve care, it is clear they are looking to implement significant reforms that will speed up efforts to reward care quality and move away from a fee for service reimbursement system.

That will mean a greater reliance on data by hospitals and other providers to monitor costs and measure health outcomes.

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How Does Data Analytics Help Fight Insurance Fraud?

Analytics making insurance fraud easier to detect?

Analytics making insurance fraud easier to detect?

Without a doubt, data analytics can help businesses make better decisions and run more efficiently.  Thus, it is no surprise that analytics can help businesses in the insurance industry – particularly the health insurance industry.  Specifically, data analytics is especially helpful when trying to find fraudulent insurance claims.

 

Insurance Company Background Info

Of course, the business of an insurance company is based upon measuring data to better understand and evaluate risks.  In fact, insurance companies have been evaluating relevant data since about the 17th century.  Today’s insurance companies can assess large amounts of data with sophisticated technology.  Therefore, in doing so, these businesses make better, more informed decisions when it comes to the risk evaluation process.

 

The Cost of Insurance Fraud

In the United States, the cost of insurance fraud is over $40 billion per year according to the research firm Forrester.  As the insurance companies pass on this cost to insurance policyholders in the form of higher payment premiums, both consumers and businesses alike should be interested in combating insurance fraud. Further, while approximately 10% of all types of insurance claims are fraudulent, a full 80% of these insurance claims are not detected.  Consequently, insurance companies lose millions of dollars per year when these types of claims are not noticed.  Moreover, manually detecting fraudulent claims is a time-consuming and costly endeavor.  Additionally, since there is a shortage of qualified individuals to properly assess insurance claims, it is on occasion difficult to differentiate a fraudulent claim from a true claim.

 

How Data Analytics Can Help

When an insurance company takes advantage of data analytic technology, it becomes easier to detect fraudulent insurance claims. Since analytics involves using mathematical, statistical, and computing techniques to discover data patterns, analytics provides a more accurate and objective method for discovering fraudulent insurance claims.  Another advantage of data analytics is that it can readily adapt to changes in model patterns.

Specifically, data from insurance companies and public records is stored and analyzed.  Some helpful information from public records can include social networks, medical bills, bankruptcies, lawsuits, and many other related areas. When the proper technology is implemented, insurance claims that appear to be fraudulent can then be forwarded to the forensics department within an insurance organization.

In turn, insurance claims can now be more accurately measured for fraud.  Additionally, through the deployment of data analytics in the insurance industry, insurance claims can be assessed in a more timely manner.

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Why Companies Should Employ Cloud-based Analytics

According to a recent study conducted by MarketsandMarkets, the cloud analytics market is set to expand by over $16.5 billion in 2018 from $5.25 billion in 2013. Over the past few years, more businesses are choosing to take advantage of cloud computing technology. In turn, more businesses are using the cloud as a platform for business analytics solutions.

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In this way, companies can readily access, collect, and monitor data via any type of mobile device, such as a tablet or cell phone.  As no hardware or software installations are required, it is also both easy to implement and maintain.  Since clients are able to use a secure login, they can access the information virtually and from anywhere with a connection.  Moreover, as cloud analytics is scalable, businesses can readily add new users as their research or business increases in size and scope.

 

Why Choose Cloud Analytics?

Throughout history, businesses have always depended on data to make important decisions.  As much information is now in a digital format, businesses need to analyze this data as efficiently as possible.  By doing so, organizations can use the results obtained by the data and make specific changes.  After all, the ability to aggregate, store, analyze, and monitor data is an extremely powerful business tool.

 

As such, cloud-based methods allow organizations to analyze and offer a real-time solution at a cost-effective price point.  The more traditional hardware products are, as one may assume, more expensive, cumbersome, and can readily become outdated.

 

Benefits of Cloud Analytics

 

More Flexible

Adopters do not need to worry about the logistics involved with transporting and finding a good location for additional server hardware within a company, cloud-based solutions offer definite advantages over more traditional IT equipment.  Further, as a cloud provider is completely responsible when it comes to capacity and coverage issues, companies do not need to hire additional on-site IT staff to monitor these types of issues.

 

User-Friendly

Cloud-based interfaces tend to be more user-friendly as they offer a more clean and modern design.  In turn, less training is required due to their user-friendly nature.  Moreover, analytics deployment times are significantly less than the time to implement a hardware-based analytics solution.

 

Secure

While many companies are less keen to maybe adopt cloud-based solutions as they believe it may not be secure, cloud solutions are no less secure than more traditional IT solutions.

 

Offers the Most Up-to-date Version

All cloud solutions are automatically updated throughout the year at no added cost to an organization.  Conversely, when hardware is utilized to analyze data, the companies are solely responsible for implementing and paying for any potential updates.
Without a doubt, the future of cloud analytics is looking bright and it is no surprise that more and more companies are choosing to take advantage of the power and ease of these types of cloud-based solutions.

-Larisa Redins

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