November 6, 2006
Mining Healthcare Data
Within our healthcare delivery system, we have mountains upon mountains of data that continue to grow as disk space gets cheaper, and increasing amounts of paper records and transactions are digitized. At the same time, technologies such as the data mining tools found in SQL 2005 Analysis Services are providing richer access to this data than ever before. This intersection will yield some incredible things in the near future.
The challenge is that many do not understand what data mining can provide. I have witnessed executives responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue say that they don't see the value in it. It is a new and strange concept. It's not discussed as widely as things like SOA, OOD/P, Agile, etc. Futhermore, unlike many advancements in technology where new things are built on the old and there is a much less graduated learning curve, data mining requires a bit more willing to think differently.
Think of the possibilities:
- Increased health by being able to predict disease and condition potential based on past medical history and current health transactions.
- Cleaner billing and payment by detecting fraud, overpayments, underpayments.
- Improve public health by being able to isolate patterns and correlations of disease and conditions.
- Make the delivery of healthcare more efficient as processes surrounding the different transactions get smoother and less error prone.
If adoption of data mining technologies reaches critical mass in the healthcare industry, we could really see some dramatic and industry shifting changes.