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Using Data Science to Revolutionize Patient Care

August 28, 2017

The evolution of patient care throughout human history has been nothing short of stunning. We’ve always cared about the sick and the elderly to an extent, but our abilities to support and heal them have historically fallen short. Luckily, technological advancement has brought about changes that would have been unthinkable even a century ago. Data science in particular is poised to introduce a layer of informed efficacy never before seen in healthcare.

A cursory look backwards gives a good glimpse of progress made so far. In ancient times, medicine and religion were linked, with priests calling upon the gods to heal patients alongside early iterations of medical science. Modern, secular hospitals did not come about until the Enlightenment in the 18th century, and with it game-changing medical innovations from eyeglasses to the catheter.

Come the 1800s, 1900s, and 2000s, innovation picked up at a rapid pace that has utterly transformed medical science: a milestone a minute compared to centuries prior. Anaesthesia and antiseptics were introduced in the 1800s; the pacemaker, ultrasound, MRI, and transplant technology emerged in the 1900s, among many, many others. Not even two decades into the 21st century, artificial organs, tiny cameras, medical imaging and bionic prosthetics have taken the fiction out of science fiction.

What does this mean for patients? Medical innovations have expanded life expectancy to record numbers. With a greater number of life-saving medicines and procedures, medical science has more answers to more ailments than ever before. It is by no means perfect, though, and there are some critical issues the industry needs to address as the population ages. So as interesting some solutions may prove to be down the line, the most revolutionary innovations will be those that harness what we know to make what we do more effective.

Here at The Allure Group, our approach to patient care and innovation has always been to optimize all outcomes, from comfort to quality. Keeping our finger on the trigger of emerging healthcare innovation has helped us become market leaders in eldercare on various fronts. We have focused more earnestly on innovations that identify and close gaps by taking a holistic, long-term approach to care.

In our constant effort to be the best we can be, we’ve realized that data science as a growing application could be leveraged to great success here at Allure, and in the healthcare industry at large. The implementation of EHR (Electronic Health Records) has digitized medical information almost completely—a huge opportunity for the healthcare industry, which now has a whole new treasure trove of information to work with.

You see, physical records can’t be analyzed and studied in the same way EHR can. Medical care is a lot of informed guesswork, and the more informed you are the better that guesswork will be. At Allure, we have a data analyst on staff who is an RN by trade. He takes EMR data to create reports and identify trends, which helps us figure out what’s working and what’s not to make decisions that improve overall care.

But EHR data is just the tip of the iceberg. Sensor technology, for example, brings with it a whole new world of data possibilities to monitor and prevent health issues. For some, this could manifest as wearable technology; for us, it’s coming in the form of EarlySense, a device for beds that records patient heart rate, breathing rate, and motion. With EarlySense data, our nurses will be able to assist residents at the first hint of an issue, and track their vitals for a better overall sense of their health.

As the first skilled nursing network in NYC to implement this technology, we are excited to grant the benefits of EarlySense to residents to our Bedford Center first, and every other center by the end of the year. In facilities where it’s been tested, EarlySense has reduced patient falls by 45 percent, bedsores by 60 percent, and code blue events (triggered by respiratory and cardiac arrest) by up to 80 percent.

Ultimately, data science will also reshape healthcare by preventing diagnostic failures, opening the door for personalized “precision medicine,” advancing pharmaceutical research, and reducing healthcare costs that come with hospital readmissions. It’s an exciting time to be alive, and an even better time to be part of the revolution.

Categories: New Technologies