As healthcare providers move to electronic records, digital databases and data warehouses tied to data analysis platforms are enabling these organizations to better analyze quality of care across a range of areas, allowing for better patient outcomes.

For example, one healthcare provider used information in its database to check whether breast biopsies were being given in a timely manner. Upon further analysis, they discovered that the time it took for biopsies to be taken from when the lump was first noticed, ranged from immediately to almost 10 days after it was spotted.

Analysis of the electronic data stored in the system of another provider showed that in 14 percent of all maternity cases, physicians were inducing labor before 39 weeks, which resulted in too many babies ending up in intensive care and too many Cesarean sections. By making physicians aware of this data, they were able to prevent 235 women from having C-sections.

As these electronic systems become more sophisticated, they are able to perform more complex analysis of data by creating automated analysis platforms.

Moreover, data analysis can lead to change in what is considered to be best practice. For example, several years ago HCA, a company with 163 hospitals and more than 100 surgery centers, teamed up with the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department to share data about prescriptions for flu-related medications and also data about anything that would point to an increase in flu-like illness. They also shared laboratory data that would show increases in white blood cell count or other signs of infection among patients.

With the three organizations working together, they were able to compile and analyze data from a number of different states and environments, which helped improve detection and trends of the flu.

Another instance of data analysis changing practice is the way MRSA infection is handled. HCA is currently compiling data from more than 40 hospitals about MRSA infections, cultures, sensitivities, antibiotics, and changes in practice. The results of the analysis will show a workable way to avoid MRSA infections in hospitals.

And a recent study by Kaiser Permanente has shown that physicians who use electronic health records (EHR) have a greater chance of finding diabetic patients who need increased medication. They also are able to better manage diabetic risk factors for patients.

This is the first study to show how EHRs can help physicians improve treatment for diabetic patients. The EHRs enabled clinicians to get access to more information and to get better decision support, which helped them identify patients who needed medication changes and retesting.

The EHR was associated with big improvements in patient care, according to researchers. Patients who had high blood sugar or high cholesterol levels were more likely to get a change in medication and follow-up testing if their healthcare provider was using an EHR.

The amount of data being fed into healthcare data warehouses is tremendous, and as IT platforms move toward increasing integration of the data, it will enable providers a much more powerful tool to improve patient outcomes. If you’re looking for employees skilled in healthcare IT technology, contact Morgan Hunter Healthcare. We can source and place individuals skilled in HCIS project and staff augmentation, assessments, implementations, migrations, upgrades, project management, go-lives and Client Activation Support contact us today.