Kaiser Permanente Uses Big Data to Lower Mortality Rates

Kaiser Permanente, a hospital system in Oakland, California, has a significantly lower mortality rate than the national average, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it owes it all to Big Data. John Mattison, CMO of Kaiser, told the source that their rates were 26 percent lower than the national average. Their rates were also revealed to be dropping more rapidly than the national numbers.

"A lot of this is directly related to how we use data and integrate data," Mattison told the news source. 

Kaiser uses its informatics department to examine data such as medical studies and patient records to inform their clinicians' recommendations, according to Becker's Hospital Review. This use of Big Data has uncovered multiple healthcare trends, including the correlation of one drug to cardiovascular problems in patients. 

Mattison told The WSJ that Kaiser's large-scale data collection and advanced system of analytics puts it far above the competition. In fact, he says that due to its use of Big Data, it can predict an outbreak long before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention get wind of it. Mattison noted that although doctors were initially wary of the integration of Big Data, they have since warmed up to the informatics department, to the point where they make requests of the data experts. 

Big Data hasn't just improved the Kaiser hospital system -- the phenomenon is expected to help multiple healthcare-based businesses stay ahead of the competition. A survey from the Society of Actuaries showed that 87 percent of healthcare decision-makers surveyed feel that Big Data will significantly impact their future business. 

Almost half -- 45 percent -- of respondents noted that they plan to hire more skilled staff within the next year to cope with the increased demand for business intelligence solutions. 

"The key question is how do we take the massive amount of information and translate it into healthcare delivery," said Robert Pearl, CEO of the Permanente Medical Group and The Mid-Atlantic Medical Group. "We have to begin by asking the right questions in order to get the right information and insights from the data."

Luckily for healthcare-affiliated businesses, there are already intelligent applications that can decipher data on their own, without additional staff. The more these apps are used, the more they "learn," and are able to derive important trends from raw, unstructured data. 

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