The health sector offers a challenging dichotomy for companies looking to innovate with digital tools like data analytics. There is a clear recognition of the benefits of new technology yet, unlike consumers, corporate customers are shifting very slowly.
Take Sydney-based medical software and information provider MedicalDirector. The company’s platforms facilitate over 70 million patient consultations a year, and it has data stretching back over 20 years. As it operates in a highly regulated market with huge inefficiencies – and opportunities – that is exactly the kind of huge data pool that attracts a digital innovator’s interest.
According to CFO David Cooper, “MedicalDirector has a statistically relevant sample of de-identified data on general history of patient consultations. That’s hugely valuable to industry. It’s a wealth of information we can use to optimise healthcare.”
The company is building out its infrastructure and putting in cloud-based services for its health provider clients. It has one eye on the huge analytics potential in a marketplace that generates vast amounts of data – a typical medical record might have as many as 800 data points, compared to 30 for a financial record.
Cooper gave the Health Technology Roundtable an example of the artificial intelligence possibilities with healthcare data; the company has developed an algorithm which – with a 91 per cent confidence level – “can predict if someone’s going to be hospitalised in the next two years”.
GPs generally want to avoid hospitalisations, and insurance companies have a strong vested interest in helping them – given that as many as half of all hospital claims can be traced to just 1 per cent of insurance policy holders.