The ability to analyze Big Data is already changing the way Amedisys Inc. treats patients, CEO Bill Borne said.
“For instance, if I asked a clinician, ‘What’s the No. 1 predictor of a hospital readmission for a congestive heart failure patient?’ The answer would probably be a three-pound weight gain.”
That type of weight gain indicates fluid buildup. Maybe the person ate too much boiled crawfish or beer over the weekend. Now the sodium is making them retain fluid and affecting their lungs.
Typically, when a congestive heart failure patient gains three pounds, he’s sent to the hospital and given diuretics to get the fluid out and discharged after three days.
But Amedisys’ data shows the real indicator of whether a congestive heart failure patient is headed back to the hospital is something called jugular venous distension. When a person sits up, the veins in his neck are swollen.
Amedisys used to classify the patients who’d just left the hospital as convalescent, in the recovery phase. A big part of home care for these patients was educational, teaching the person about the effects of their behavior and the importance of taking their medication.
What the company realized after analyzing its data was that often the congestive heart failure patients discharged from the hospital still had jugular venous distension. They still needed to get rid of some fluid.
Data analysis has changed the way the patient is treated, Borne said.
The company’s new IT system will make it easier and faster to do this type of analysis, resulting in better and more preventive care for patients, and keeping them out of hospitals, Borne said.