Improving healthcare in our world today means having our cake and eating it too. It means simultaneously improving outcomes and reducing cost. The bedrock of actualizing this new paradigm is a reduction in the opacity of our healthcare system.
Despite our tremendous clinical advancements, the operational machinations of our industry are woefully obsolete. The biggest challenges are the most basic: operations, logistics, resource allocation, customers, and management. Information and technology are the undeniable salvation and solution.
In 1854, London was the epicenter of a vicious cholera outbreak. The germ theory of disease had not yet been developed, so Dr. John Snow did not understand the mechanism by which the disease was transmitted. His observation of the evidence led him to discount the theory of foul air. Dr. Snow famously traced the outbreak’s nidus by plotting the location of cases to find a cluster of victims near a city water pump. This is one of the first examples of GIS powered epidemiology.
Geospatial Analysis for Growth
At Carevoyance, we realized early on that geospatial data expression is fundamental to our mission - organizing our country’s healthcare information. Marketsense, our GIS engine, is helping the healthcare industry tackle their toughest challenges - strategy, capital planning, public health administration, marketing, and operations. Synthetic geospatial expression weaves variables together to create beautiful, actionable tapestries. Efficient, accurate answers to key questions lead to better decision making.
Healthcare is predominantly a location-dependent endeavor. Geospatial context is a critical, yet often underutilized dimension by healthcare decision makers. In an industry where profit margins are 1-2%, it is critical that health care organizations can access and digest the nuances that are germane to their respective market. GIS can help executives optimize the ratio between provider-to-patient supply and demand, and help prioritize under-served areas.
Poor allocation of resources can hurt an institution, its operations, and its future. Multivariate, multi-layered geospatial analysis that include demographic patterns fuel accurate forecasting. For example, a newly aging populous for a specific geographic area should require services that are more focused on treating geriatric pathology. This allows management to understand where more sales resources are needed today, tomorrow, and ten years downstream.
Geospatial expression dramatically improves marketing and outreach efforts to both patients and providers. For an organization to achieve optimal growth, a deep understanding of both the internal and external markets is critical. Access to technology that facilitates an appreciation of the competition will play a large role in determining the winners and losers in the healthcare marketplace.
Market demand analysis
Combining GIS with health care informatics can yield comparative analysis to better address patient trends and the traits of physicians who treat them. Geography-related insights can fuel the improvement of operational and capital efficiencies, team allocation and makeup, and key accounts to pursue. For example, is a hospital investing too much in an oncology unit when another facility in the same region already has a competing strong practice? Could joint replacement be an appealing alternative to that facility?
Health care operations depend on the interworking of provider and facility networks. One reason for high costs is the fact that the left and right hand do not communicate with one another. In other words, the majority of health care organizational data resides in illiquid silos. The data is stuck. Billions of dollars are lost due to these inefficiencies. But the good news is that bloated, cost prohibitive enterprise contracts are becoming a relic of the past.
Typically, health care organizations lack GIS expertise that necessitates the hiring of consultants and full-time specialists. However, this is no longer the case as access to design driven, usable software is now a reality. Data specialists aren’t required to delve into complex data sets. All that is required is a curious mind.