It is an indisputable fact that big data and information technology are revolutionizing the global healthcare industry, thereby serving as conduits for strategy innovation. As noted in the special healthcare issue of Insigniam Quarterly, a slew of innovative mobile applications are enabling physicians to monitor patients remotely, respond to their questions quickly, and make better, more informed decisions about their care.
Recently, Bloomberg Business Week explored how emergency room physicians in Washington State are cutting ER visits by 10 percent by way of effectively leveraging data at the patient level.
“Were a doctor to know that [a] patient suffers from chronic headaches, and that a recent CT scan didn’t reveal any problems … the slate wouldn’t be quite so blank,” says Dan Lessler, chief medical officer for Washington state’s Medicaid program, who is quoted in the article by Bloomberg.
Expanding their focus on Washington’s embrace of equipping physicians with emerging technologies in the ER, Bloomberg notes, “Medicaid’s ER costs fell $33.7 million in the 2013 fiscal year … even with no other changes to ERs made at the time.”
And while the article stops short of unequivocally attributing the windfall to big data, it notes that many other states have taken notice and are taking steps to follow suit.
“Doctors involved in Washington’s efforts said they have answered queries from colleagues in California, Ohio, New York, Texas, and Florida,” says Bloomberg. “Washington is showing how far data can go.”
As the outreach from the Affordable Care Act brings Medicaid services to more patients, states like Washington should be applauded — and emulated — for their willingness to depart from a “yesterday’s methods, yesterday’s results” approach to healthcare. Not only does this substantiate Insigniam Quarterly’s findings on the 10 critical success factors and 10 disruptive forces plaguing healthcare — but it further proves that those who don’t embrace the unstoppable wave of innovation will be washed away by progress.