As pressure on hospital systems builds, health services are increasingly turning to more advanced data analytics to inform system evaluation and redesign, improve patient flow and deliver better patient outcomes.
At the most recent VAHI Seminar Series event, three CSIRO experts presented their work and thinking on health system analytics, including statistical modelling and predictive analytics, aimed at improving patient flow.
Dr Rob Grenfell, Director, Health and Biosecurity Business Unit, introduced the presentation by speaking about the CSIRO Future of health report. The report provides a vision and plan from how we can move the health system away from a focus on illness treatment and towards management of health and wellbeing.
Dr Rajiv Jayasena, System Analytics, Victorian Lead, Australian eHealth Research Centre, spoke about some of the motivations for CSIRO’s work to optimise health intelligence. He explained that, while Australia compares very favourably to OECD averages, we are also spending more than the average on health care. In addition, our spending is increasing at a much higher rate than our population growth.
Dr Sankalp Khana, Senior Research Scientist, Lead of Health Intelligence, Australian eHealth Research Centre, shared examples of projects where the team had worked to improve public hospital performance. In one example Dr Khana shared, he outlined work the team had done through statistical modelling at 23 Queensland hospitals to identify key capacity ‘choke points’ where hospital performance declines. He also spoke about work to quantify the impact of early discharge to help ease crowding in hospitals.
Being able to predict not only the demand that a hospital will experience on a particular day or week, but also which patients are at high risk of re-hospitalisation, allows for appropriate planning and resourcing and gives staff and clinicians the information they need to work proactively, rather than reactively.
The seminar concluded with an interactive discussion with the audience about the future of predictive analytics, particularly in the acute care setting, with Dr Grenfell stressing the need for evidence-informed decision making and policy reform being essential for change across the health system.
VAHI established the Seminar Series to bring together local and international experts with an audience of health services executives and clinicians, government staff and other interested parties to share valuable information, and promote collaboration, innovation and best practice.
Our next seminar will take place in November. Look out for details in an upcoming issue of VAHI news.