New Data Analytics Can Predict Patient Outcomes and Improve Care – Here’s How

Health officials have watched with envy as data analytics tools help other industries work faster, more efficiently, and with fewer security concerns — until now.

Hartford Health Care and Dr. Dimitris Bertismas, a specialist in predictive analytics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently formalized a company called H2O that will release cloud-based software for healthcare organizations around the world that promises to:

  • Optimize operating room performance by efficiently sequencing patient flow, increasing capacity without costly capital construction projects.
  • Accurately target the patient’s optimal length of stay to better prepare for discharge.
  • Improve and speed up the movement of patients through the emergency department, improving their experience.

“This has the potential to change health care for the world, and it’s starting in Connecticut,” said Jeffrey Flaks, President and CEO of Hartford HealthCaremoments after signing the agreement with Dr. Bertsimas.

The partnership dates back five years when Dr. Bertsimas introduced his predictive analytics tool into the system, showing executives and clinicians its possible applications. Flaks called them the “Huge Impact Zones”.

“Each of these areas will help us care for more people, even in the face of critical staff shortages,” he said. “We will be able to better organize our resources to be more efficient while ensuring the quality of care and patient safety.

Dr. Bertsimas – who will chair the company’s board of directors based in Waltham, Mass. – said the H2O software will be a resource as patients enter one of Hartford HealthCare’s seven emergency rooms, reviewing each patient’s medical record, lab and diagnostic imaging reports and other data to predict things like likely complications, need for an intensive care unit bed, and length of hospital stay.

“It will predict patient outcomes,” he said.

Such predictive analysis is a “game changer,” added Flaks, who said the healthcare industry has never been able to harness the power of the algorithms and tools used to determine outcomes.

“It will help us to be proactive rather than reactive. Health care has historically been reactive. The benefits of this are very clear,” he said.

Barry Stein, MD, director of innovation at Hartford HealthCare, said clinicians had not been quick to trust the technology in the past, but the close work that Dr. Bertsimas and his team have done with Hartford HealthCare suppliers in recent years has demonstrated the powerful potential of technology.

“We learned together, so there’s more trust,” he said. “We’ve simplified a complex solution so that the end user can harness its power. They saw that if we can predict what is going to happen, we can intervene and mitigate things before they happen.

H2O’s goal is to bring the technology to market by the end of 2022 and have 10 or more hospital systems globally committed to using it within the first year.

Norma A. Roth