Machine Learning / Predictive Analytics

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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How Healthcare AI Makes Machine Learning Accessible to Everyone in Healthcare

Before the introduction of healthcare.ai, an open source, healthcare-specific machine learning software, only a small subset of healthcare staff (primarily data scientists) had the ability to leverage predictive analytics to improve outcomes. Healthcare.ai will democratize machine learning by empowering everyone in healthcare with the appropriate technical skills (BI developers, project managers, data architects, etc.) to download the healthcare.ai tools (packages for R and Python), request features, ask questions, and contribute code. What sets healthcare.ai apart from other machine learning tools is its healthcare-specific functionality:

  • Pays attention to longitudinal questions.
  • Offers an easy way to do risk-adjusted comparisons.
  • Provides easy connections and deployment to databases.
Healthcare.ai will do more than just democratize machine learning—it will transform healthcare.

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Prospective Analytics: The Next Thing in Healthcare Analytics

Retrospective and predictive analytics are familiar terms for practitioners of clinical outcomes improvement, but the new kid on the block is prospective analytics. This is the next level that uses findings from its predecessors to not only identify the best clinical routes, but also what the results might be of each choice. Prospective analytics gives bedside clinicians an expanded, branching view of operational and clinical options in a type of decision support that can lead to not only improving surgical and medical outcomes, but to making a positive financial contribution, as well. But, as expected with any new process or new way of thinking, prospective analytics requires careful introduction and stewardship to help drive its adoption within the organization.

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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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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 Healthcare Executives Can Learn from Military Decision Making

Dale Sanders, SVP at Health Catalyst, gave a presentation covering  healthcare analytics strategy at the recent Plante Moran executive Healthcare Summit. He covered similarities between his former career in assessing nuclear threats for the US Air Force and NSA, and his role today in advising effective use of healthcare analytics. His session covered the Healthcare Analytics Adoption Model and how organizations need to take a systematic, strategic approach to implementing new software solutions. He also covered the importance of establishing a healthcare data acquisition plan, in light of the coming patient-driven sources of data, such as wearable devices.

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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

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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