Healthcare analytics: Improve patient care and maximize cost efficiency

Last Updated: June 20, 2024

Data is the lifeblood of healthcare, especially for providers, as the best application of insights from data can be the difference between life and death. It can help you improve patient care, optimize operations, reduce costs, and enhance outcomes. But it can also pose many challenges that can hinder your performance and put your business at risk. You also know how hard it is to manage and analyze the vast amount of data that you collect and generate every day. 

Providers must deal with data from multiple sources, formats, and systems. You have to clear and validate the data for accuracy and completeness. You have to store and secure data in compliance with regulations and standards. You have to query and report data for timely and actionable insights. You have to visualize and communicate data for decision-making and collaboration.  And you have to do all this while facing technical, organizational, cultural, and strategic challenges.  This requires providers to have the necessary policies, processes, roles, and tools to ensure the quality, availability, usability, and value of their data assets.

How can you overcome these challenges and turn them into opportunities? How can you use your data to improve not only your efficiency and effectiveness to better slim operating margins but also the quality and safety of patient care? How can you leverage your data to innovate and differentiate yourself from your competitors?

In this blog, we’ll explore:

  • How data challenges in healthcare affect providers’ ability to provide patient care and facilities operations.
  • How a robust and scalable data analytics platform can help providers overcome these challenges and gain improvements.
  • How to evaluate your current and future data analytics capabilities not just to survive but to thrive.

The data challenges and their impact

Healthcare data challenges are not just technical problems. They have real and, more often than not, serious consequences for your business. They affect not only the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare operations but also the quality and safety of patient care. For example:

  • Inaccurate or incomplete provider data can lead to errors in billing, credentialing, contracting referrals, and network management. This can cost providers money, expose you to compliance risks, burden you with administrative tasks, and frustrate your customer, the patient. According to a study by HealthScape Advisors, inaccurate provider data can result in revenue losses of up to 12 percent for health plans.¹ 
  • Inadequate or outdated clinical data can impair the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. This can harm patients, cause adverse events, waste resources, and increase costs to deliver and receive care. According to a study by Health Affairs, poor quality data across clinical, administrative, and financial domains can lead to an estimated $75 billion in annual waste in the US healthcare system alone due to missed prevention opportunities!² That equals 1,190,476 heart procedures or surgeries per year (excluding doctor fees).3
  • Fragmented or siloed patient data can hinder the coordination and continuity of care across settings and providers. This can create gaps in care, duplicate services, cause medication errors, and reduce patient engagement. According to a study by Norwich University, fragmented patient data can contribute to an estimated 250,000 deaths per year in the US due to medical errors.4 That’s about 28 people per hour.

To bring the impact of these data challenges to life on patient care, let’s look at an example. Imagine a patient with diabetes; not hard to imagine since, as of 2021, 537 million people globally, or 6.7 percent of the population, suffer from the disease.5 This patient visits multiple providers for different aspects of their condition. Each provider may have a different record of the individual’s medical history, medications, allergies, lab results, and vital signs. Without a comprehensive and consistent view of the individual patient data, the providers may miss important information or make conflicting recommendations that could harm the persons’ health. 

How would you feel if you were that patient, one of the providers, or the leader of that healthcare organization? You wouldn’t want to put your patients, providers, or your business at risk. You want to provide the best possible care for your patients through improved insights and operations for providers and, ultimately, better outcomes for everyone. But how can you do that with your current data challenges?

How a modern data analytics platform can improve patient care and operations

Surprisingly, the diagnosis is simple. You need a robust and scalable data analytics platform that that centers around a modern data lake strategy and can:

  • Integrate data from various sources and systems into a modern data lake that supports open standards and formats.
  • Enable fast and flexible access to data for diverse users and applications through a federated query engine that leverages existing data infrastructure.
  • Easily integrate and provide powerful and intuitive tools for data analysis, visualization, and collaboration that support evidence-based decision-making and innovation.
  • Deliver high performance, reliability, security, and governance for data at scale.

Another unsurprising surprise, Starburst provides healthcare organizations with a modern data lake analytics platform that accomplishes all of that and more.  Starburst enables providers to:

  • Leverage their modern data lake(s) as the center of gravity and connect to any data source or system around it without being forced to move or copy data.
  • Query any data using SQL or other languages.
  • Analyze data using popular tools such as Tableau, PowerBI, and Looker.
  • Share data with internal or external stakeholders as data products while enforcing strict access controls.
  • Scale your analytics muscles to meet changing demands.

Using Starburst, healthcare providers can gain insights into their clinical, operational, financial, and strategic performance. They can also leverage their data to improve patient care quality, safety, satisfaction, and outcomes.

Novant Health is a not-for-profit organization with 35,000 team members and over 1,800 physicians across 800 locations. Novant Health’s vision is to deliver a remarkable patient experience every time.

Novant Health uses Starburst as an abstraction layer between its varied data sources and the analysts, Data scientists, and other end users. Data engineers who might have had to wait months to source and curate data to satisfy complex use cases now have immediate access through Starburst.

With Starburst, Novant Health achieved 60% faster access to data and 7 distributed datasets accessible through one tool.

“We needed to point our customers directly to data where it lives, whether that’s in Azure, on-prem, or in one of our clinical or financial operations systems, and give them the capability to query that data and ultimately deliver insights for the organization,” says Justin Byrd, VP of Data Platform & Integration at Novant Health.

Starburst helps healthcare providers overcome their data challenges and improve their patient care and operations by providing a simple, fast, flexible, and secure data analytics platform that can scale to meet their evolving needs. 

The data analytics capabilities you should evaluate 

As healthcare providers continue to embark on their modernization efforts, there are critical capabilities that need to be evaluated to ensure data becomes a life-altering asset. 

  • Does your data architecture support open standards and formats that enable interoperability and integration?
  • Is your data architecture scalable to handle increasing volumes and varieties of data?
  • Is your data architecture performant to deliver fast and reliable queries and analysis?
  • Does your data architecture solve the data access challenge by enabling users to query any data from any source or system?
  • How robust or simple does your data architecture need to meet your business objectives and user expectations?

These are important questions that you should answer honestly and objectively. They will help you assess your current state and identify areas for improvement. They will also help you explore how Starburst.io can help you achieve your data analytics goals and transform your patient care and operations.

Make data the lifeblood of your healthcare system

Data is essential for healthcare providers. It can improve patient care, operations, costs, and outcomes. But data can also be complex, fragmented, and hard to access. Healthcare providers need a data analytics platform to integrate, access, analyze, visualize, and share data at scale without complex retooling and investments in staff reskilling. They need a platform that can query data across any source without moving or copying it. They need a platform that can make data fast and easy to use, no matter where it lives. They need a platform to help them leverage data as a strategic asset.

With such a platform, healthcare providers can overcome data challenges and unlock opportunities in healthcare. They can integrate data from multiple sources, such as electronic health records, medical devices, wearables, etc. They can move towards performing advanced analytics on their data, such as predictive modeling and machine learning. They can create dashboards and reports that provide actionable insights.

Here are two ways to continue learning:

  1. Register to attend our upcoming healthcare webinar on June 6th featuring David Berkowicz, Chief Product Officer from Bamboo Health. 
  2. Visit Starburst for Healthcare




1 Provider Data Management: A Longstanding Problem – Amplified in 2020 and Beyond | HealthScape Advisors 

2 No Surprises: Provider Data Accuracy Mandated | LexisNexis Risk Solutions 

3 Heart Surgery Cost |  The Pricer  

4 5 outcomes of inaccurate provider data & how to avoid them | Perspecta

5 How Many People In The World Have Diabetes? | THE DIABETES COUNCIL

What are some next steps you can take?

Below are three ways you can continue your journey to accelerate data access at your company

  1. 1

    Schedule a demo with us to see Starburst Galaxy in action.

  2. 2

    Automate the Icehouse: Our fully-managed open lakehouse platform

  3. 3

    Follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, and X(Twitter).

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