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Patient Flight Path Analytics: From Airline Operations to Healthcare Outcomes

We developed a predictive analytics framework for patient care based upon concepts from airline operations. Using the idea of an aircraft turnaround time where the airline wants to put the aircraft back into operation as soon as possible, we’ve created a way to help patients headed toward poor outcomes, along with their providers, “turnaround” and get the best possible, most cost-effective outcome. For example, in a diabetes patient, we might use variables such as: age, alcohol use, annual eye/foot exam, BMI, etc. to look for patterns that might influence two outcomes: 1) Diabetic control and 2) The absence of progression toward diabetic complications. The notion of our Patient Flight Path is useful at both the conceptual level, as well as the predictive algorithm implementation level.

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There Is A 90% Probability That Your Son Is Pregnant: Predicting the Future of Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

In this webinar, which is geared for managers and executives, Dale Sanders provides a new version of a very popular lecture he presented at this year’s Health Analytics Summit in Salt Lake City. Attendees will gain an understanding of:

  • What to expect from predictive analytics as it relates to human behavior
  • A general overview of predictive analytics models, and the contexts in which those various models should and should not be used
  • The scenarios in which predictive models in healthcare are effective and when they are not, given that 80% of population health outcomes are determined by socio-econonic factors, not healthcare delivery
  • The relationship between predictive analytic accuracy and topics of data management such as data quality, data volume and patient outcomes data
  • The use of predictive analytics to identify patients who are on a trajectory for poor, as well as good, outcomes
  • How current predictive analytics strategies are overlookng the cost of intervention and “Return on Engagement”, ROE— the cost per unit of healthcare improvement for patient populations
  • The cultural, philosophical, and legal conundrums that predictive analytics will create for healthcare, notably healthcare rationing

The success of predictive analytics will not be defined by the simple risk stratification of patient populations for care management teams. Success will depend on the costs of intervention to reduce the risks that are identified by predictive analytics, which boils down to this two-part question: Now that we can predict a patient’s risk for a bad healthcare outcome, “What’s the probability of influencing this patient’s behavior towards a better outcome?” And, “How much effort and cost will be required for that influence?”

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The Power of Geo-Analytics (and Maps) to Improve Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

As far back as the 1840s, clinicians have been using maps to inform them about population health trends. Today, the geo-analytics industry is well-developed in almost every application, with the exception of healthcare and medicine. There is potential to use mapping technologies to show patient disease burden in geographic form, map locations of health care facilities, and a plethora of accountable care population health initiatives would benefit from geo-analysis. Health Catalyst is working to integrate inputs into analysis like maps that can show geographic care boundaries, population health demographics, and more.

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What Is Data Mining in Healthcare?

This is the complete 4-part series demonstrating real-world examples of the power of data mining in healthcare. Effective data mining requires a three-system approach: the analytics system (including an EDW), the best practice system (and systematically applying evidence-based best practices to care delivery), and the adoption system (driving change management throughout the organization and implementing a dedicated team structure). Here, we also show organizations with successful data-mining-application in critical areas such as: tracking fee-for-service and value-based payer contracts, population health management initiatives involving primary care reporting, and reducing hospital readmissions. Having the data and tools to use data mining and predict trends is giving these health systems a big advantage.

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Three Approaches to Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

Predictive analytics in healthcare must be timely, role-specific, and actionable to be successful. There are also three  common types of healthcare predictive analytics: Risk scores (risk stratification using CMS-HCC or other models), What-if scenarios (simulations of specific outcomes given a certain combination of events, and Geo-spatial analytics (mapping a geographical location’s patient disease burden). The common thread in all of these is the element of action, or specifically, the intervention that really matters in healthcare predictive analytics.

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Why Predictive Modeling in Healthcare Requires a Data Warehouse (White Paper)

Interest in predictive modeling is part of a larger trend to employ business and clinical intelligence applications in healthcare. Until recently, organizations that had the ability to mine and analyze data were mostly conducting retrospective analyses. Using tools available today, organizations with the right technical infrastructure, including a data warehouse, can link predictions to specific clinical priorities, set up new workflows, apply analytics to emergency departments and to slowly changing clinical situations and more.

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Prescriptive Analytics Beats Simple Prediction for Improving Healthcare

Predictive analytics alone cannot offer meaning without context, especially in health care. In order to be successful, prediction tools should be content-drive and clinical-driven. Prescriptive analytics can improve health care better than simple predictions can. Analytics should be used with clinical leaders that have the willingness to act on appropriate intervention measure. This “in context” prediction should include not only the evidence, but also the interpretation and recommended actions for each predicted category or outcome. An underlying data warehouse platform is key to gathering rich data sets necessary for training and implementing predictors.

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In Healthcare Predictive Analytics, Big Data Is Sometimes a Big Mess

Those in Big Data and Healthcare Analytics circles will seldom hear the phrase “less is more.” In a clinical setting however, there is an important lesson to learn in regards to the effective execution of predictive analytics. We should not confuse more data with more insight. More data is simply more—as in more tables, more lists, more replicates, more clinics, more controls, more rows, tables of tables and lists of lists, etc. You get the idea. In short, for predictive analytics to be effective in a clinical venue, a specific focus will always trump global utility.

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4 Essential Lessons for Adopting Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

Predictive analytics is quite a popular current topic. Unfortunately, there are many potential side tracks or pit falls for those that do not approach this carefully. Fortunately for healthcare, there are numerous existing models from other industries that are very efficient at risk stratification in the realm of population management. David Crocket, PhD shares 4 key pitfalls to avoid for those beginning predictive analytics. These include 1) confusing data with insight, 2) confusing insight with value, 3) overestimating the ability to interpret the data, and 4) underestimating the challenge of implementation.

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Predictive Analytics: Healthcare Hype or Reality?

In healthcare, popular buzzwords and hot topics always come and go. Technically sexy topics such as big data, bioinformatics, predictive analytics or genomic medicine are tossed in and about sales calls, funding proposals, journal articles and blogs for a few years and then folks move on to the next big thing. The buzzword fever around predictive analytics will likely continue to rise and fall. Unfortunately, lacking the proper infrastructure, staffing and resource to act when something is predicted with high certainty to happen, we fall short of the full potential of harnessing historic trends and patterns in patient data. In other words, without the willpower for clinical intervention, any predictor – no matter how good – is not fully utilized.

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3 Reasons Why Comparative Analytics, Predictive Analytics, and NLP Won’t Solve Healthcare’s Problems

I had a recent opportunity to engage in an online discussion with a well-known healthcare analytics vendor about the value of comparative analytics, predictive analytics, and natural language processing (NLP) in healthcare. This vendor was describing a beautiful new world of the future, in which comparative data, in particular, would be the cornerstone of our industry’s turnaround. The executive summary of my response: “Beware the smoke and mirrors” because 1) comparative data doesn’t drive improvement, 2) predictive analytics fails to include outcomes, 3) gaps in industry healthcare data limits the effectiveness of NLP.

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Predictive Analytics: It’s the Intervention That Matters (Webinar)

In this two-part webinar, get the detailed knowledge you need to make informed decisions about adopting predictive analytics in healthcare so you can separate today’s hype from reality. In part 1, you’ll learn from Dale Sanders:

  1. Our fixation on predictive analytics in readmissions,
  2. The common trap of predictions without interventions,
  3. The common misconceptions of correlations verses causation,
  4. Examples of predictions without algorithms, and
  5. The importance of putting the basics first.

In part 2, you’ll hear from industry expert David Crockett, PhD in a “graduate level” crash course cover key concepts such as machine learning, algorithms, feature selection, classification, tools and more.

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Machine Learning / Predictive Analytics - Additional Content

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Meaningful Machine Learning Visualizations for Clinical Users: A Framework

Health systems can leverage the predictive potential of machine learning to improve outcomes, lower costs, and save lives. Machine learning, however, doesn’t inherently produce insights that are actionable in the clinical setting, and frontline clinicians need information that’s accessible and meaningful at the point of care. Thoughtfully designed visualizations of machine learning insights are a powerful way to give clinical users the information they need, when and how they need it, to support informed decision making. A design framework for machine learning visualizations addresses three key questions about who will use the decision-support insights and how:

  1. People: who are the targeted users?
  2. Context: in what context or environment do they work?
  3. Activities: what activities do they perform?

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Machine Learning in Healthcare: What C-Suite Executives Must Know to Use it Effectively in Their Organizations

Machine learning (ML) is gaining in popularity throughout healthcare. ML’s far-reaching benefits, from automating routine clinical tasks to providing visibility into which appointments are likely to no-show, make it a must-have in an industry that’s hyper focused on improving patient and operational outcomes. This executive report—co-written by Microsoft Worldwide Health and Health Catalyst—is a basic guide to training machine learning algorithms and applying machine learning models to clinical and operational use case. This report shares practical, proven techniques healthcare organizations can use to improve their performance on a range of issues.

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The Future of Healthcare AI: An Honest, Straightforward Q&A

Health Catalyst President of Technology, Dale Sanders, gives straightforward answers to tough questions about the future of AI in healthcare. He starts by debunking a common belief: We are awash in valuable data in healthcare as a consequence of EHR adoption. The truth involves a need for deeper data about a patient.

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Why Health Systems Must Use Data Science to Improve Outcomes

In today’s improvement-driven healthcare environment, organizations must ensure that improvement measures help them reach desired outcomes and focus on the opportunities with optimal ROI. With data science-based analysis, health systems leverage machine learning to determine if improvement measures align with specific outcomes and avoid the risk and cost of carrying out interventions that are unlikely to support their goals. There are four essential reasons that insights from data science help health systems implement and sustain improvement:

  1. Measures aligned with desired outcomes drive improvement.
  2. Improvement teams focus on processes they can impact.
  3. Outcome-specific interventions might impact other outcomes.
  4. Identifies opportunities with optimal ROI.

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The Dangers of Commoditized Machine Learning in Healthcare: 5 Key Differentiators that Lead to Success

Many vendors deliver machine learning models with different applications in healthcare. But they don’t all deliver accurate models that are easy to implement, targeted to a specific use case, connected to actionable interventions, and surrounded by a machine learning community and support team with extensive, exclusive healthcare experience. These machine learning qualities are possible only through a machine learning model delivered by a vendor with a unique set of capabilities. There are five differentiators behind effective machine learning models and vendors:

  1. Vendor’s expertise and exclusive focus on healthcare.
  2. Machine learning model’s access to extensive data sources.
  3. Machine learning model’s ease of implementation.
  4. Machine learning model’s interpretability and buy-in.
  5. Machine learning model’s conformance with privacy standards.
These five factors separate the high-value vendors and models from the crowd, so healthcare systems can quickly implement machine learning and start seeing improvement results.

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Introducing Touchstone: The Next-Generation Healthcare Benchmarking and Opportunity Prioritization Tool

To do healthcare benchmarking effectively and efficiently, healthcare organizations need to know where they’re underperforming, where they’re performing well, and how to focus and prioritize their improvement efforts. They also need a new approach to benchmarking that isn’t limited to the inpatient setting. The Health Catalyst® Touchstone™ product is the next-generation healthcare benchmarking and prioritization tool that delivers what antiquated benchmarking technologies cannot:

  • Risk-adjusted benchmarking across the full continuum of care.
  • Artificial intelligence-powered recommendations.
  • Ranked lists of improvement opportunities.
  • Detailed analytics and an intuitive user interface that enable the easy exploration of factors driving performance issues.
  • Democratized benchmarking that’s available to as many people as the organization wants.
Touchstone was designed with many users and use cases in mind, from population health analysts looking to improve ACO performance to C-suite leaders who need a data-driven approach to prioritizing improvement opportunities.

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Data Science for Healthcare: What Today’s Leaders Must Know

Healthcare leaders who understand data science can embrace the significant improvement potential of the industry’s vast data stores, including an estimated $300 billion in annual costs savings. Executives must know the value of data science to understand the urgency in investing and supporting the technology and data scientists to fully leverage data’s capabilities. Today’s data science-savvy executives will lead the healthcare transformation by enabling faster, more accurate diagnoses and more effective, lower-risk treatments.

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The Impact of FDA Digital Health Guidance on CDS, Medical Software, and Machine Learning

The FDA recently released guidance documents on the use of clinical decision support (CDS) and medical software that may be of concern to forward-thinking healthcare innovators who rely on these technologies to deliver exceptional care and improve outcomes. What will be the impact of this guidance on machine learning and predictive analytics efforts? How will the guidance affect timelines, costs, and effectiveness of ongoing machine learning implementation? As healthcare delivery increasingly relies on digital innovation and support, more questions emerge about the governance of the accompanying tools and technology. This article provides a summary of the FDA guidance on CDS, how CDS is defined, whether or not CDS is exempt from regulation, and how the FDA intends to enforce compliance. It also summarizes the FDA guidance on medical software, what software is exempt from regulation, and helps to answer some of the questions surrounding the digital health space.

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How to Apply Machine Learning in Healthcare to Reduce Heart Failure Readmissions

One large healthcare system in the Pacific Northwest is moving machine learning technology from theory to practice. MultiCare Health System is using machine learning to develop a predictive model for reducing heart failure readmissions. Starting with 88 predictive variables applied to data from 69,000 heart failure patient encounters, the machine learning team has been able to quickly develop and refine a predictive model. The output from the model has guided resource allocation efforts and pre-discharge decision making to significantly improve patient care management activities. And the data has engendered trust among clinicians who rely on it the most for clinical decision making. This inside look at the application of advanced technology offers lessons for any healthcare system planning to ramp up its machine learning and predictive analytics efforts.

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Custom Care Management Algorithms that Actually Reveal Risk

Care management is a tool for population health that focuses scarce healthcare resources on the sickest patients. Care management leaders need to know who those sickest patients are (or may be). The static risk models typically used for stratifying patients into risk categories only paint a partial picture of health and are ineffective for modern care management programs. Custom algorithms are now capable of predicting risk based on multiple risk models and multiple data sources. They help care management teams confidently stratify patient populations to paint a complete picture of care needs and efficiently deliver care to those who need it most. This article explains how custom algorithms work on static risk models to normalize risk scores and improve patient stratification, care management, and, ultimately, population health management.

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Improving Patient Safety: Machine Learning Targets an Urgent Concern

With over 400,000 patient-harm related deaths annually and costs of more the $1 billion, health systems urgently need ways to improve patient safety. One promising safety solution is patient harm risk assessment tools that leverage machine learning. An effective patient safety surveillance tool has five core capabilities:

  1. Identifies risk: provides concurrent daily surveillance for all-cause harm events in a health system population.
  2. Stratifies patients at risk: places at-risk patients into risk categories (e.g., high, medium, and low risk).
  3. Shows modifiable risk factors: by understanding patient risk factors that can be modified, clinicians know where to intervene to prevent harm.
  4. Shows impactability: helps clinicians identify high-risk patients and prioritize treatment by patients who are most likely to benefit from preventive care.
  5. Makes risk prediction accessible: integrates risk prediction into workflow tools for immediate access.

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Resolving Uncompensated Care: Artificial Intelligence Takes on One of Healthcare’s Biggest Costs

Uncompensated care can cost large health systems billions of dollars annually, making outstanding balances one of their biggest costs. Propensity-to-pay tools help organizations target unpaid accounts by using artificial intelligence (AI) to leverage external and internal financial and socioeconomic data and identify the likelihood that patients in a population will pay their balances (propensity to pay). With propensity-to-pay insight, financial teams can focus their efforts on patients most likely to pay, and connect patients who are unable to pay with charity care or government assistance. Both health systems and patients benefit, as patients can avoid bad debt and organizations receive compensation for care they’ve delivered.

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In Healthcare Predictive Analytics, Big Data Is Sometimes a Big Mess

Those in Big Data and Healthcare Analytics circles will seldom hear the phrase “less is more.” In a clinical setting however, there is an important lesson to learn in regards to the effective execution of predictive analytics. We should not confuse more data with more insight. More data is simply more—as in more tables, more lists, more replicates, more clinics, more controls, more rows, tables of tables and lists of lists, etc. You get the idea. In short, for predictive analytics to be effective in a clinical venue, a specific focus will always trump global utility.

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Combatting the Opioid Epidemic with Next-Generation Risk Assessment Tools

The opioid-related death rate in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, making more effective ways to predict opioid misuse a healthcare priority. A new generation of machine learning-enabled risk assessment tools promises to deliver broader and more relevant insight into a patient’s risk. With more comprehensive insight (including comorbidities, other substance abuse, the amount of medication prescribed, and the duration of opioid use), clinicians can make informed decisions when prescribing opioids and reduce the risk that patients will misuse, abuse, or overuse the pain killers. Clinicians will also be able to identify which patients might benefit from alternatives to opioid pain management (non-pharmacologic, multi-modal therapies, or care management programs).

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Top Five Elements of an Effective Readmission Risk Score

Under value-based healthcare and the 2012 Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, healthcare organizations are more motivated than ever to reduce their incidence of preventable readmissions. Health systems can reduce risk of hospital readmissions by developing readmission risk scores tailored specifically to their populations. A risk model that meets the following five requirements will have significant predictive value and is most likely to achieve systemwide adoption:

  1. Identifies at-risk patients early.
  2. Separates patients relevant to the disease-specific identification method and intervention strategy from all other in-hospital patients.
  3. Uses organization-specific data to train a disease-specific model.
  4. Exceeds performance of existing models.
  5. Is developed in collaboration with domain experts.

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Three Approaches to Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

Predictive analytics in healthcare must be timely, role-specific, and actionable to be successful. There are also three  common types of healthcare predictive analytics: Risk scores (risk stratification using CMS-HCC or other models), What-if scenarios (simulations of specific outcomes given a certain combination of events, and Geo-spatial analytics (mapping a geographical location’s patient disease burden). The common thread in all of these is the element of action, or specifically, the intervention that really matters in healthcare predictive analytics.

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Machine Learning in Healthcare: How it Supports Clinician Decisions—and Why Clinicians are Still in Charge

Machine learning in healthcare is transforming healthcare with its ability to tackle data variability and complexity. Everyone in healthcare should embrace this new technology and its ability to deliver more precise, faster, data-driven insight to clinical teams. But just as machine learning has benefits, it also has limitations; for example, it loses its impact when implemented without realistic expectations or without thorough integration with existing clinical processes. As the FDA works to publish guidance on digital health services, including governance regarding the use of algorithms to support clinical decisions, it’s important for everyone in the industry to hold themselves accountable for the quality of the data and the processes that put this data in front of clinicians. Machine learning is transforming the way health systems deliver care to patients by surfacing insights to clinicians at the point of care; but, ultimately, the clinician considers the entire clinical picture to determine the most appropriate plan for patients.

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Machine Learning 101: 5 Easy Steps for Using it in Healthcare

Machine learning, used in the context of healthcare, is not about computers replacing doctors or rolling robots dispensing bedside care to patients. Perhaps a better term would be data-driven healthcare because it is the process of using historical patient data in a predictive model to determine the likelihood of a healthcare-related outcome. The black box that is the machine is no more than an algorithm trained by data. Most importantly, the predictions can be used by doctors to optimize decision making in real time, thus reducing readmissions, infection rates, and other complications that drive up costs and lower the quality of care. This article explains some machine learning basics, dispels some misconceptions, and outlines five steps to its implementation:

  1. Define the use case.
  2. Prepare the data.
  3. Train the model.
  4. Make predictions on new data.
  5. Deliver the risk score for use in clinical decision support.
Machine learning is destined to be a digital partner for physicians, executives, and health systems focused on improving clinical, financial, and operational performance. To get there, it must first be understood.

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Use ACE Scores in Machine Learning to Predict Disease Earlier and Improve Outcomes

The Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanent showed a strong correlation between ACEs and negative health outcomes later in life (e.g., risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, and early death). ACE scores help paint a more complete picture of a person’s health history—a more comprehensive data snapshot of the entire patient. Given that ACE scores build better data sets and machine learning relies on high-quality data, health systems should incorporate these nutrient-rich data sources into their machine learning models to better predict negative health outcomes, allow for earlier interventions, and improve outcomes. Healthcare machine learning is evolving to use ACE scores and lifestyle data (e.g., eating habits) to improve population health management.

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An Inside Look at Building Machine Learning for Healthcare

Machine learning is a term that crops up often in healthcare lately, but it’s important to understand what really constitutes learning in this context. What some call machine learning is actually unintentional programming, but true learning is derived during the process of building a predictive model. This article delves into the nuts and bolts of a healthcare machine learning model and describes the training process a model undergoes to impact outcomes for patients. The key ingredient is data and the key deliverable is to complete the feedback loop so those responsible for managing care have actionable information at their disposal. Machine learning is beyond conceptual; it’s incorporated into a growing list of predictive models for various disease classifications.

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How Machine Learning in Healthcare Saves Lives

There are limitless opportunities for machine learning in healthcare. Defined as, “a field of computer science that uses pattern recognition to identify historical relationships in large data sets using an algorithm to create a generalized model of behavior,” machine learning is one of the most important life-saving technologies ever introduced to healthcare for several reasons:

  • Reduces readmissions.
  • Prevents hospital acquired infections (HAIs).
  • Reduces hospital length of stay (LOS).
  • Predicts chronic disease.
  • Reduces one-year mortality.
  • Predicts propensity-to-pay.
  • Predicts no-shows.
  • Improves sepsis outcomes.
It’s no wonder health systems are eager to start leveraging machine learning to save lives, improve outcomes, and make systemwide enhancements. They can do so by understanding machine learning basics, the importance of customized machine learning (not one-size-fits-all models) and historical data (a requirement for answering basic machine learning questions), and how machine learning helps their patients, clinical teams, and bottom lines.

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The Top Three Recommendations for Successfully Deploying Predictive Analytics in Healthcare

As data availability and open source tools make predictive analytics increasingly accessible for health systems, more organizations are adopting this advanced capability. Organizations won’t, however, use predictive analytics to its full potential—making it routine, pervasive, and actionable—without a deployment strategy that scales the technology. Three recommendations can help health systems successfully deploy predictive analytics and leverage data experience to improve data-driven interventions and outcomes:

  1. Fully leverage your analytics environment.
  2. Standardize tools and methods using production quality code.
  3. Deploy with a strategy for intervention.

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The Real-World Benefits of Machine Learning in Healthcare

Machine learning in healthcare is already proving its worth in clinical applications. From identifying tumors in mammograms, to diagnosing skin cancer and diabetic retinopathy from images, algorithms can perform certain duties more quickly and reliably than humans. While only used for specialized medicine now, the time will come where every practitioner and patient will benefit from cyber-assisted bedside care. This won’t develop without ethical implications, but the advantages that machine learning will bring to healthcare in terms of lower costs, improved quality of care, and greater provider and patient satisfaction, will easily outweigh those concerns. In this article, Dr. Ed Corbett explores the intricacies of machine learning from two perspectives: as a physician and as a family caregiver with a personal story about how this data science could benefit patient lives today.

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How Healthcare Machine Learning Is Improving Care Management: Ruth’s Story

Healthcare machine learning, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) are starting to play a much bigger role in care management. As care managers continue to have a growing number of patients like Ruth, who use digital devices at home, machine learning offers a solution to the resulting exponential increase in healthcare data. Defined as the practice of extracting information from existing data sets to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends, the advantages of using predictive analytics to improve care management are infinite, from chronic disease management to cost control. Health systems must prioritize learning how to use healthcare machine learning to not only improve their care management programs, but also outcomes for patients like Ruth.

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Health Catalyst® Introduces catalyst.ai™: Machine Learning in Healthcare Is Now for Everyone

Despite its prevalence in many other industries (and its use by most Americans every single day), machine learning in healthcare is far behind. But not for long, because Health Catalyst® is bringing this life-saving technology to healthcare with catalyst.ai™—a new machine learning technology initiative that helps healthcare organizations of any size use predictive analytics to transform healthcare. The clinical, operational, and financial opportunities catalyst.ai gives health systems are limitless:

  • Prevent hospital acquired infections.
  • Predict chronic disease.
  • Reduce readmissions
  • Reduce hospital Length-of-Stay.
  • Predict propensity-to-pay.
  • Predict no-shows.
Catalyst.ai™ (machine learning models built into every Health Catalyst application) together with healthcare.ai™ (a collaborative, open source repository of standardized machine learning methodologies and production-quality code that makes it easy to deploy machine learning in any environment), represents a new era of powerful predictive analytics that will not only improve outcomes, but also save lives.

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