In the U.S. one in five patients suffers from preventable hospital readmissions. Those readmissions are responsible for $17.4 billion of the current $102.6 billion Medicare budget. With health data growing 35% per year you would think that the wealth of knowledge would be pushing this number down. In the HIMSS Industry Solutions webinar, IBM ECM Strategy and Market Development Director, Craig Rhinehart explains that 80% of the data collected by health organizations is unstructured data, which includes what the doctor writes in his notes section. This unstructured data is messy and often seen as an analytics blind spot, but also contains key medical facts.
Seton Healthcare uses IBM’s Content and Predictive Analytics to access and leverage more relevant clinical and operational information to drive better decision making. The most surprising part of this was that all the data that was thought to be important….Wasn’t. In a study of patients who were readmitted within a 30 day period using 113 candidate predictors from structured and unstructured data sources it turns out the structured data was less reliable than the unstructured data.
Rhinehart gives a wonderful example of how in a structured data section such as a checkbox the patient may have selected “Non-Smoker” but this could mean that he has been smoking for 20 years and quit yesterday, which a doctor may not consider a non-smoker. The doctor could indicate this in his notes which were previously unused but are now being utilized by IBM Content Analytics.
The numbers show that the unstructured social data on a patient, including living arrangements and substance abuse, was a much more useful in the doctors making correct medical decisions to reduce the patient’s chances of readmission. The data showed that ejection fraction (volumetric fraction of blood pumped out of the heart with each heart beat) and smoking were important indicators for heart failure but not readmissions.
To know more about what drives readmissions in CHF patients and how IBM’s solution can help in reducing hospital readmissions view the HIMSS Industry Solutions webinar