The Healthcare Hub

The Philosophy of (Healthcare) Data: Using Data to Create Information and Predict the Future

posted by: Cheryl Flury
Thursday, February 7, 2013

David Brooks published a very interesting op-ed in The New York Times earlier this week. The article, The Philosophy of Data, discusses the current data revolution and the potential for data to help us to not only understand the past, but predict the future. OK, maybe "predict" is an overzealous word, but "anticipate" certainly isn’t.

This made me think about how we are using, or not yet using, data in healthcare. While collecting data is great, it is useless unless it creates helpful, actionable information. This is what we are working to do for the supply chain. By moving the supply chain from a manual, paper-based, error-prone process to an automated, collaborative one, suppliers and providers can now easily collect data that once existed in multiple sources and create actionable, valuable insight.

By understanding supply levels, purchasing and contracts in the past and present, the goal is that our customers will be able to gather information – around waste, inventory and excess spend, for example – to assist them in the future and, in turn, free up both employee time and funds to allow the proper focus on providing care. Without maintaining an exceptional level of care, healthcare cannot sustain as an industry. Properly analyzing data to create information that is not only helpful in the present, but in anticipating future needs, is one way to sustain the industry for continued success.