September 23, 2019
Radiology Today: Data Driven Performance
Data analytics leads to better business decisions, and also improves patient care and satisfaction.
According to many people in radiology, data are an “empowering force.” But to harness that power, tools need to be deployed to make the data actionable. Actionability involves elements such as accessibility, transparency, comprehensibility, and controllability—ie, management. Data analytics is proving to be the catalyst.
“Analytic insights allow administrators to make better strategic business decisions,” says Darren Selsky, Hologic’s senior director and franchise leader of global marketing. “If one health care system or facility appears to be underperforming, scheduling adjustments must be made to improve operational efficiency.”
Furthermore, as Selsky indicates, garnered insights can inform future purchasing decisions, which can justify the need for additional equipment, workflow tweaks, and issues related to overall capacity. Data can also reveal why some enterprises are underperforming while others are overperforming.
Some of what is now possible may suggest that data analytics in radiology is a new trend. That’s a misconception. Indeed, analytics as applied to radiology is a decades-long endeavor. Rather, what is happening now is that companies are improving their data analytic capabilities, to the benefit of the health care providers. This effort is a summons.
“Currently, facilities are increasingly challenged to operate more efficiently while still delivering the best care possible, even if their resources are limited,” Selsky observes.
A significant challenge, says Chris Meenan, general manager of performance solutions with Philips, is better access to the most appropriate data. “Such data provides the end-to-end perspective,” he says. “This involves placement of pieces of information within departmental infrastructure. Get it into one place and eliminate the ‘noise’ to get a clearer picture.” The process is like a high-tech version of assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
Another challenge is the age of the data. Information from as recently as yesterday is already one day too old. It’s retrospective. What’s necessary, Meenan says, are “real-time” data. Make changes today, he emphasizes.
Vendors understand these challenges, which is why companies such as Hologic, Philips, Life Image, and many others are upgrading their offerings and even fostering industry affiliations.
A New Partnership
Here’s an example: Massachusetts-based Life Image is committed to enabling real-time flow of clinical information to engender informed medical decisions. To push its purpose forward, the company formed a partnership with Canada-based Bialogics Analytics to make medical imaging analytics more efficient.
Life Image developed an “ecosystem” that connects hospitals, physicians, patients, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, telehealth, and EHRs. The interoperable network orchestrates the flow of all clinical information with medical images, creating access to the right information at the right times—and in the right context for optimal patient care.