Improving healthcare systems with big data

The positive effects of business intelligence (BI) and big data analytics on healthcare management are becoming increasingly apparent — especially when it comes to reducing hospital readmission rates. Take a look at why many hospitals and clinics are beginning to embrace the potentials of data-driven business.

At its core, BI software is all about data analytics. BI software is capable of accepting staggering amounts of data in short periods of time. It uses advanced analysis algorithms to search for trends in the data that even the most experienced statistician cannot find. Because BI can quickly provide deep insights, businesses across industries have utilized different BI software to gain competitive advantages and streamline their workflows. For instance, healthcare organizations use BI to manage their readmission rates.

What is readmission?

Readmission refers to the instance a healthcare institution admits a patient within 30 days of that patient’s previous hospital stay. Readmissions usually occur because of:

  • Complications arising from the preceding treatment
  • Errors committed by hospital staff (e.g., leaving a sponge in the patient’s body after surgery)
  • Patients not following their doctors’ recommendations
  • Insufficient access to proper medical services and medications in the patient’s community

Why should hospitals want to reduce their readmission rate?

There are three main reasons why hospitals must strive to keep patients from returning for additional treatments:

  1. Readmissions are financially crippling and more medically risky for patients
    Medical care in America is one of the most expensive in the world. While the degree of how much medical expenses affect people’s decisions to file for bankruptcy is up for debate, such expenses are nevertheless a contributing factor. Having to be treated more than once is therefore backbreaking for Americans, especially for those who are living paycheck to paycheck. Not only that, but the likelihood of getting hospital-acquired infection also increases the more one visits and/or the longer one stays in a healthcare facility. This results in a costly downward spiral no one wants to be in.
  2. Medicare and Medicaid won’t pay for complete coverage
    Readmissions also take a toll on Medicare and Medicaid. This is why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) impose a payment reduction penalty of up to 3% upon hospitals that exceed certain thresholds for readmission rates. That is, CMS only pays 97% of covered medical costs instead of the entire 100%. The penalty is arguably also a tool to keep hospitals from profiteering.
  3. Having a high readmission rate can reduce a hospital’s reputation
    Once people find out that your hospital has a high readmission rate, they may begin to avoid your institution, thinking it provides poor-quality care.

How can business intelligence help hospitals with readmission rate reduction?

BI can help reduce readmission rates in several ways. For instance, by using patient-centric data points such as income level, English proficiency, housing conditions, and community resources, hospital administrators will have greater insight into the welfare of their patients. This knowledge will enable healthcare professionals to factor in their patients’ circumstances, create special care plans to increase the likelihood that their patients will abide by their medical recommendations, and help them prevent expensive readmissions.

Furthermore, by using BI software to merge socioeconomic data with electronic medical records, medical professionals can easily create individual profiles that will predict how likely a patient is going to require readmission, even before care is provided. Predictive analytics allows doctors to adjust the initial care they provide certain types of patients so that the likelihood of readmitting such patients is dramatically reduced.

In addition to helping you lower readmission rates, BI software can also provide your practice with unprecedented levels of care and efficiency. Call us today to get started with proven IT experts.

This post was originally published on this site

What’s new with Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel can be used to record inventory, create simple and complex formulas, and manage data. The world’s most popular spreadsheet program is chock full of features, and with a recent upgrade, users will be able to do more with their own data. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Previous Excel upgrades include the addition of dynamic arrays and array formulas, a feature that enabled single formulas to return an array of values. Another upgrade was the Stocks and Geography function, which lets users add stock and geography data into a spreadsheet with the help of the search engine Bing. These are both useful, but Microsoft decided to add even more functionality to the program.

New data types

Excel has always been a formidable tool for storing text, numbers, and formulas and allowing users to process information out of them. Still, the data that one could put in Excel grids were limited because they were flat. Recent upgrades improve upon that limitation.

Luckily, users can now add data types to Excel, making the program more dynamic and intelligent. These data types effectively expand what information inside cells can do. In particular, cells can now contain not just text and number data, but a connected, up-to-the-minute collection of information such as currencies, cities, population, stocks, and the like. Simply put, cells can interact with charts and formulas with live data.

Data in cells can be used as a reference for an even larger collection of different data types, images, and actions. In other words, you’re no longer just typing data and writing formulas into a cell, although you can still do both. Rather, a cell can contain a specific set of information that branches out into subsets of data that you would otherwise need to type directly into the cell.

For example, if you’re creating or upgrading a customer information spreadsheet, things like transaction history, preferences, or phone numbers don’t have to be typed one by one. Adding customer-specific data types could simplify this process: entering a customer name in a cell would link to a network of information about a specific entry (i.e., customer) using a scroll-over menu, as opposed to having to enter all that information manually. This makes data input more flexible, efficient, and less prone to error resulting from copy-pasting and manual entry.

Enhancements for Power BI customers

It is, however, users of Microsoft Power BI, the company’s business intelligence program, who will greatly benefit from the upgrades. If your company uses Power BI, data published into your account will automatically link to Excel, which makes the flow of company data types into the program more seamless.

In addition, Microsoft’s data connection technology Power Query will allow users to create custom data types, while pre-configured data types (through a partnership with knowledge engine provider Wolfram Alpha) will also soon be added to let users track different types of information.

This only scratches the surface of what these Excel upgrades can do. For more Office and general productivity tips, consult our IT experts today.

This post was originally published on this site

What’s new with Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel can be used to record inventory, create simple and complex formulas, and manage data. The world’s most popular spreadsheet program is chock full of features, and with a recent upgrade, users will be able to do more with their own data. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Previous Excel upgrades include the addition of dynamic arrays and array formulas, a feature that enabled single formulas to return an array of values. Another upgrade was the Stocks and Geography function, which lets users add stock and geography data into a spreadsheet with the help of the search engine Bing. These are both useful, but Microsoft decided to add even more functionality to the program.

New data types

Excel has always been a formidable tool for storing text, numbers, and formulas and allowing users to process information out of them. Still, the data that one could put in Excel grids were limited because they were flat. Recent upgrades improve upon that limitation.

Luckily, users can now add data types to Excel, making the program more dynamic and intelligent. These data types effectively expand what information inside cells can do. In particular, cells can now contain not just text and number data, but a connected, up-to-the-minute collection of information such as currencies, cities, population, stocks, and the like. Simply put, cells can interact with charts and formulas with live data.

Data in cells can be used as a reference for an even larger collection of different data types, images, and actions. In other words, you’re no longer just typing data and writing formulas into a cell, although you can still do both. Rather, a cell can contain a specific set of information that branches out into subsets of data that you would otherwise need to type directly into the cell.

For example, if you’re creating or upgrading a customer information spreadsheet, things like transaction history, preferences, or phone numbers don’t have to be typed one by one. Adding customer-specific data types could simplify this process: entering a customer name in a cell would link to a network of information about a specific entry (i.e., customer) using a scroll-over menu, as opposed to having to enter all that information manually. This makes data input more flexible, efficient, and less prone to error resulting from copy-pasting and manual entry.

Enhancements for Power BI customers

It is, however, users of Microsoft Power BI, the company’s business intelligence program, who will greatly benefit from the upgrades. If your company uses Power BI, data published into your account will automatically link to Excel, which makes the flow of company data types into the program more seamless.

In addition, Microsoft’s data connection technology Power Query will allow users to create custom data types, while pre-configured data types (through a partnership with knowledge engine provider Wolfram Alpha) will also soon be added to let users track different types of information.

This only scratches the surface of what these Excel upgrades can do. For more Office and general productivity tips, consult our IT experts today.

This post was originally published on this site

Reasons why companies should use business intelligence

Your small business’s data is valuable, and utilizing it for growth strategies lets you discover opportunities. One way to do that is to use business intelligence (BI) tools. Multinational companies have been using them for years with the assistance of experts who help make sense of massive amounts of data. Now that there’s a growing range of BI tools available for all types of organizations, there’s no excuse not to leverage your data.

Self-service BI tools are plentiful — and inexpensive

The emergence of self-service BI puts useful business analytics within reach of smaller-business owners who lack the big budgets of larger corporations. In fact, there are numerous self-service BI tools that you can use to get started in this area without even spending a dime. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful and user-friendly application, and most businesses will find the functions they need in the free version. Zoho Analytics has a low entry-level cost, too, and the slightly pricier yet still affordable Tableau is another option worth exploring.

You’ve already got the data you need

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of data your SMB already has at its disposal. In every area of your business, from finance and sales to customer relations and website management, the software packages you use to simplify your everyday operations reap tons of information that most of us don’t even think twice about.

By talking to key stakeholders in your organization’s various departments, you can get an idea of the kind of data you already have, how it’s generated, and where it’s stored. You can then utilize BI tools to transform that information into meaningful business insights that will inform your decision-making. No need for you to invest in time-consuming data generation from scratch!

It’s easy to get started

BI is an intimidating term, especially for the average business owner. But by taking small steps, it’s easy for anyone to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of having data-driven, intelligence-based insights that will enable you to make better business decisions.

Most self-service BI tools come with built-in suggestions for reports that businesses commonly run and find useful. Some worthwhile statistics to explore include the percentage of your clients who cancel within a given period, website landing pages that generate the longest visits, your most profitable individual products or services, the days or months in which you generate your highest revenues, and which of your clients bring in the most revenue and profit.

Harnessing data is the future of the business world — it’s how companies like yours can make smarter decisions that increase efficiency and profitability. And with a trove of self-service tools available in the market, SMBs no longer need a humongous budget to reap the benefits of BI. To find out more about implementing tools that can help you do smarter business, just give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site

Reasons why companies should use business intelligence

Your small business’s data is valuable, and utilizing it for growth strategies lets you discover opportunities. One way to do that is to use business intelligence (BI) tools. Multinational companies have been using them for years with the assistance of experts who help make sense of massive amounts of data. Now that there’s a growing range of BI tools available for all types of organizations, there’s no excuse not to leverage your data.

Self-service BI tools are plentiful — and inexpensive

The emergence of self-service BI puts useful business analytics within reach of smaller-business owners who lack the big budgets of larger corporations. In fact, there are numerous self-service BI tools that you can use to get started in this area without even spending a dime. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful and user-friendly application, and most businesses will find the functions they need in the free version. Zoho Analytics has a low entry-level cost, too, and the slightly pricier yet still affordable Tableau is another option worth exploring.

You’ve already got the data you need

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of data your SMB already has at its disposal. In every area of your business, from finance and sales to customer relations and website management, the software packages you use to simplify your everyday operations reap tons of information that most of us don’t even think twice about.

By talking to key stakeholders in your organization’s various departments, you can get an idea of the kind of data you already have, how it’s generated, and where it’s stored. You can then utilize BI tools to transform that information into meaningful business insights that will inform your decision-making. No need for you to invest in time-consuming data generation from scratch!

It’s easy to get started

BI is an intimidating term, especially for the average business owner. But by taking small steps, it’s easy for anyone to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of having data-driven, intelligence-based insights that will enable you to make better business decisions.

Most self-service BI tools come with built-in suggestions for reports that businesses commonly run and find useful. Some worthwhile statistics to explore include the percentage of your clients who cancel within a given period, website landing pages that generate the longest visits, your most profitable individual products or services, the days or months in which you generate your highest revenues, and which of your clients bring in the most revenue and profit.

Harnessing data is the future of the business world — it’s how companies like yours can make smarter decisions that increase efficiency and profitability. And with a trove of self-service tools available in the market, SMBs no longer need a humongous budget to reap the benefits of BI. To find out more about implementing tools that can help you do smarter business, just give us a call.

This post was originally published on this site