25 March, 2015
How Patient Data Helps Hospitals
Washington State Health Care Authority has been able to reduce unnecessary use of the emergency room by adopting a system to exchange patient information electronically among emergency departments. The patient data that is gathered and distributed, helps hospitals identify frequent users and share information regarding their care.
Previously, the physician had no way of knowing which patients had visited multiple emergency rooms recently with the same complaint, or what diagnosis and treatment was given during prior visits. By using the data, emergency departments are now able to see all information about all emergency visits within the past twelve months and determine whether a patient is seeking narcotics or has a chronic condition, and then have the ability to respond accordingly.
Some of the highlights Washington State Health Care has seen from this incorporation of big data are:
- Emergency department visits declined by about 10%
- Visits by frequent clients (who visited five times or more annually) decreased by 10.7%
- Visits resulting in a scheduled drug prescription decreased by 24%
- Visits with a low acuity diagnosis decreased by 14.2%
Now hospitals nationwide are looking for similar ways to incorporate big data and keep patients out of EDs, as well as better manage them when they do.