Visualizing the Future of Healthcare Data with Power BI
September 14, 2020
Healthcare systems around the world are in a state of transformation. In addition to their ongoing endeavors to improve patient care, healthcare organizations are facing challenges of cutting down costs, efficiently managing human resources, and modernizing and streamlining internal processes. The burden on healthcare systems is expected to continue growing, especially with an aging population and an estimated 14 million shortfall of skilled healthcare workers globally. Also, with government regulation constantly evolving and patients growing increasingly demanding, healthcare organizations will need to make smarter, faster decisions to continue delivering value to the society.
While these problems are varied, data analytics capabilities can help healthcare organizations extract actionable insights from their data to bridge these gaps. Recent estimates show that over 4 trillion GB of healthcare data is being generated each year, and by 2021, AI in healthcare will be a $6.6 billion market. This ample clinical and operational data can be leveraged for business intelligence and data-driven analytics for patient histories, clinical medicine, physician performance, electronic medical records, and operational data. Moreover, insights from big data can also be used in preventative medicine and effective planning by predicting future health patterns and reducing risks.
However, the growing volume of data also poses challenges in the forms of increasing privacy issues and complex data and IT infrastructure, which often make it difficult for organizations to fully leverage their data and extract the value that the healthcare ecosystem needs.
The Opportunity for Power BI in Healthcare
Microsoft Power BI is a unified self-service and enterprise business intelligence platform that combines an intuitive user experience with intelligent data visualizations to provide a greater depth of data insight. By combining the power of self-service and with the ability to unify data from different sources, Power BI can help organizations overcome the complexity barrier in accessing and leveraging their data.
In healthcare organizations, the scope for harnessing data to improve decision-making and processes using Power BI is nearly endless. These solutions can be invaluable for healthcare data management, automation, and data-led decision-making, with the objectives of:
Improving Efficiency: The platform allows operation teams to closely monitor resource allocation and make educated decisions to optimize resource utilization. This can effectively help reduce waste in medical services, such as testing, pharmacy and length of patient stay. Staff management becomes easier with a clear picture of available manpower vis-à-vis present and anticipated requirements. The solution is also useful for readmission management and compliance monitoring, among other needs. Power BI also has advanced features such as Natural Language Query and machine learning integrations that can be instrumental in process automation and modernization.
Empowering Healthcare Workers: Power BI allows for analytics and visualization of patient and testing demands, so that the healthcare organization’s resource needs can be understood and optimized. It also empowers healthcare workers to analyze patient data and collaborate with other users to get a comprehensive picture. The platform can address a growing number of business scenarios including HR, finance, administration, and medical training management, providing healthcare workers with increasing amounts of useful information to do their jobs effectively and efficiently. An analysis of Power BI’s impact by Forrester showed that the platform could result in a whopping 42% reduction in effort and save as many as 125 hours per user each year.
Offering Personalized Care: As healthcare organizations strive to improve patient satisfaction, solutions like Power BI help them offer more personalized care easily. For one, the platform helps maintain and review electronic health records, so caregivers are better informed about patient histories and previous treatments. Moreover, with tools for visualizing demographic data, they have more information about potential risk factors, success rates of procedures and medication, etc., which allows for better decision-making. Easy access to historic data and patient records also helps healthcare workers offer predictive care guidance to lower future risks.
Reimagining Healthcare: The future of healthcare will inevitably lie in predictive and preventative measures. Power BI has the capability to forecast patient loads based on historic trends, allowing for better resource management. Other emerging healthcare system requirements like patient information tracking can also be fulfilled with this platform. Demographic analysis also opens the door for curated programs to protect vulnerable populations. Among other advanced capabilities is the ability to effectively respond in emergencies, with a data-driven approach.
Until recently, data siloes were one of the biggest barriers to effective analytics within the healthcare sector. However, Power BI can integrate data from various sources, including external data, to provide a unified, holistic view that can open previously unimaginable avenues for modelling and analytics. This ability will pave the way to what is known as the final frontier of analytic capabilities – prescriptive analytics. Unlike predictive analytics, which stops at predicting potential future outcomes, prescriptive analytics goes a step further and makes recommendations on how to mitigate potential future risks or leverage opportunities, along with the implications of each potential decision option.
Improving Data Security and Compliance: Healthcare data is usually very sensitive and is subject to regulatory overview. With healthcare organizations amassing growing volumes of data, the risks of data breaches, privacy concerns and security lapses also increase. On an average, the industry faces losses amounting to $6.2 billion each year due to growing security and compliance pressures and breaches. Power BI alleviates these risks by protecting sensitive health data to support privacy and security requirements and makes it easy to share data safely and securely with other users. The platform complies with HIPAA and other industry regulations and offers advanced security through encryption, user authentication and safe data storage.
Enabling Data-Backed Decision-Making at Every Level
The Power BI platform acts as a bridge between data and decisions, so that anyone can easily work with data to make reports and extract insights needed for confident decision-making. Dataflows help organizations unify data from disparate sources, including external data, and prepare it for modelling and analytics with unmatched compute power and query performance.
It allows reports to be safely shared within a wide array of Microsoft tools like Teams, Excel, PowerPoint, or within other productivity products. The platform also allows Power BI visuals, reports, and dashboards to be directly embedded into business applications and websites, so all users can derive value from the data.
Power BI offers organizations the flexibility of working with data stored on-premise or on the cloud. The Power BI Desktop application allows users to connect to, transform and visualize data, whereas the Power BI Service allows used to access and share their dashboards and connect datasets in one place.
There are two core implementation strategies for Power BI that can help healthcare organizations improve efficiency by streamlining operations using clinical and business data.
- The self-service Citizen BI offers a democratized platform which puts the power of analytics in the hands of the team, so they can extract valuable insights, collaborate and share information. Deep insights from centralized data can be instrumental in building more effective teams and empowering healthcare workers. The solution can also help personalize patient care by providing them more control over their health.
- The Enterprise BI is IT-managed, and aligns to big data, complex integration, advanced analytics, and data governance functionalities. It facilitates both self-service data analysis and reporting by analysts.
The transformation of healthcare is already underway with many health organizations learning the true value of their data. With advanced analytics and visualization tools like Power BI, healthcare providers have access to newfound insights, which can be leveraged to optimize resource utilization, drive down costs and enhance the quality and efficiency of patient care.