N: You mentioned clinical variation. Why is it so important for doctors to agree on best practices? Can you give an example?
B: The cardiology department in a major hospital may have 10 to 20 specialists, all of whom were trained in a different way. But the data shows the physicians which of their approaches works best and helps them understand the need to conform to a proven standard. All of this is only possible if they can understand and trust the data, as well as the story it tells.
N: Can you talk about the big movement around population health and proactive patient outreach?
B: The average physician cares for between 2,000 and 3,000 patients—meaning there’s no way to proactively monitor that many patients. Thanks in part to the Qlik platform, we’ve built applications that scan important data and prompt the office staff to reach out to patients for follow up so the doctor isn’t caring only for those patients who happen to walk through the door.
N: What’s the experience like when doctors and nurses understand the power of analytics for the first time?
B: Nothing is more fun and rewarding than to witness that “Aha moment” when a doctor or a nurse gains insight from the data and discovers a better way to provide care. They suddenly realize that all the hassle of computerizing medical records is finally paying off. And this is just the beginning.
N: Do you have any quick anecdotes from actual customers that you could share?
B: One of our clients, a children’s hospital, noticed an uptick in length of stay and admission to the ICU for appendicitis patients. We looked at the data and it turned out that the preferred drug was being administered only 28 percent of the time. The problem was corrected and there was a 90 percent improvement in results. That’s the power of data.
N: How would you describe the impact of analytics on healthcare in the United States?
B: In the United States we spend one seventh of our GDP on healthcare. The potential impact of analytics on increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and improving the quality of care is simply awesome. And like I said earlier—this is just the beginning.