Healthcare is a hot button issue in society today; from politicians discussing availability to the never-ending negotiations between providers and insurance companies concerning reimbursement rates, treatment plans are at the forefront of much of what is going on today. Healthcare providers and organizations are under constant pressure to improve patient satisfaction and care. To reach those goals, many of those organizations are implementing the use of predictive analytics.

On the surface, predictive analytics is exactly what it sounds like: these organizations use a collection of data from the past to predict outcomes that will occur in the future. The algorithms applied to data from the past is then used to identify and rectify patient issues during intake and increase the likelihood of successful treatment in the future.

For instance, it is reported that 20% of Medicare’s budget is currently spent on treating patients with kidney disease. Predictive analytics enables clinicians to identify and treat kidney issues in patients before they reach end-stage renal failure.

A 2017 study by the Society of Actuaries indicated that 93% of health organizations are already using predictive analytics. Not only does the use of these predictive analytics increase the likelihood of patient success, but it has also proven to decrease long term costs accrued by insurance companies, which should have a positive impact on patient finances.

Hospital clinicians possibly receive the most significant diagnostic advantage in the use of analytics. It’s incredibly easy for a doctor in a hospital setting to identify and treat the complaint that has brought the patient under their care at the moment. This new wave of healthcare analytics can be applied to patients who are seeking acute emergency care to help recognize and possibly handle issues that are in the patient’s future.

Finally, predictive analytics are being used in imaging studies. Some studies of chest X-rays have been able to analyze scans in seconds to identify up to 14 different pathologies. While this practice has not yet been implemented in clinics, it is widely believed that soon, this sort of program will be used to predict future life-altering diseases correctly.

In a world where we are so used to reacting to healthcare crises, predictive analytics are giving us the chance to proactively research issues and potentially save lives.