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Analytics answers

Short takes...on analytics

A blog by Casey Graves, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP

The more questions analytics answers, the more the questions it raises.

It’s really that simple.

In other words, when we apply analytics to a challenge, the answers that arise can often bring with them new discoveries and new sets of questions.

While this may seem like a drawback – in the way medications that solve specific health ailments often have unintended side-effects – it’s actually a good thing. Because, in raising more questions, analytics powers a cycle of innovation. Questions beget answers that beget further inquiry that begets new answers, and all of that fuels change. In this way, analytics can create a self-feeding ecosystem of inquiry, answer, innovation, change, and re-inquiry. This is precisely how analytics helps businesses imagine and architect, then re-imagine and re-architect, creative solutions.

When used to help businesses address very granular questions, analytics-driven answers become even more powerful. Consider, for example, the healthcare industry’s specific challenge of unplanned hospital readmissions. Unplanned re-admissions pose a significant problem for patients and providers alike. With nearly 20 percent of all admissions resulting in a re-admission – 90 percent of which are preventable – the industry faces a serious challenge. The annual cost of these re-admissions now exceeds $40 billion1.

Analyzing readmissions data can help healthcare providers reduce unplanned readmissions by answering critical questions about what happened, why, and what could happen next. Applying analytics to inpatient, outpatient, and pharmacy data generates powerful prediction models of potential re-admissions. Creating these models helps providers predict, and address, potential inpatient re-admission candidates at the individual patient level over the first 30 days after discharge.

Other industries may face serious threats to their business health -- and analytics can offer curative answers in these cases as well. Fraud, waste, and abuse can result in the loss of financial assets, trade secrets, and overall reputation. An analytics-driven, enterprise fraud and misuse management solution can help businesses scan for evidence of fraud in real time, providing answers that move the business from a reactive to proactive position in terms of fraud and misuse.

From the intensive care unit to the finance business unit, tricky problems should require analytics-driven answers. How is your organization applying analytics to targeted business problems? What kinds of answers are you able to obtain using analytics today that were unattainable just a few years ago?

1 Medicare Payment Advisory Council, 2009

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