Social, media, analytics and cloud


SMAC: Better together

Improving health care efficiency with social, mobile, analytics, and cloud

The combined power of social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) technologies holds great potential to help health c​are organizations reduce costs, streamline inefficiencies, improve quality, and demonstrate value. Case studies of SMAC in practice illustrate how these technologies can lower cost and increase efficiency in next-generation supply chain, research and development, care coordination, and digital payments.

SMAC in health care: Improving efficiency, decreasing costs

Social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) technologies hold great potential to help health care organizations reduce costs, streamline inefficiencies, improve quality, and demonstrate value. Experience with SMAC in industries such as entertainment, consumer goods, and banking shows that while each of these technologies can generate benefits independently, they are even better together—joint application can improve business processes dramatically. In health care, this may translate to increased efficiency and lower costs.

A 2014 survey of health information technology (IT) leaders found that the US health systems could in aggregate save a total of $23.4 billion in 2016 by implementing SMAC (11 percent of the savings from social media, 16 percent from mobile, 21 percent from analytics, and 20 percent from cloud).1

To better understand the opportunities and challenges of using SMAC in health care, Deloitte spoke to industry experts and conducted secondary research. We identified four operational areas where SMAC technologies, singly or collectively, could be impactful.

  • Next-generation supply chain: After deploying radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to track medical and surgical supplies, 240-bed Concord Hospital in New Hampshire was able to reduce its inventory by 13 percent, with the largest decreases occurring in some of its most expensive departments: surgery, intensive care unit (ICU), and emergency.
  • Research and development (R&D): Pfizer leverages analytics to tailor treatments for specific patient populations. The company developed and launched the lung cancer drug Xalkori for a five-to-seven percent patient subset which has the ALK gene mutation and received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval based on clinical trials on only 255 patients. The total time from discovery to approval took three years, less than half the typical timeframe.
  • Care coordination: Washington State Medicaid-enrolled its beneficiaries in a program that used a predictive modeling algorithm to determine who would benefit from a chronic care management program; this saved over $300 per member per month.
  • Digital health care payments: Annual savings from SMAC-based digital health care payments solutions could be as high as $8 billion for the overall health care industry. As examples, one health system saved 25 percent in administrative costs by investing in digital health care payments, and a physician office reduced its time spent on claims submission and patient payment processing by 88 percent, from several hours per day to mere minutes.

1 Business Wire, "96 Percent of Healthcare Providers Say Their Infrastructure is Not Fully Prepared to Leverage Cloud, Big Data, Mobile, Social to Optimize Their EMR," October 2014.

SMAC in practice: Generating health care value through capture, dissemination, application, and storage

Social: Capture

Social media is changing the way that stakeholders perceive and experience health care, as well as capture information from the marketplace. Having a presence on social media, including health care-specific sites like PatientsLikeMe could generate substantial insights on patient experiences and preferences

Mobile: Dissemination

Mobile health (mHealth) could be used to capture data and disseminate health information to end users. According to Deloitte’s 2014 survey of US Physicians, 90 percent of respondents are interested in mHealth technology and its clinical value, and 38 percent regard monitoring patients’ conditions and adherence as a potential benefit of mHealth.

Analytics: Application

Building a database of clinical and administrative information can help health care organizations generate targeted insights and increase the speed and efficiency of decision-making processes, both prospectively and retrospectively. Similarly, using analytics can help organizations determine which treatments have the highest success rate, which medications are most cost-effective, and which patients need additional resources and support; and provide real-time clinical decision support for individual patients and patient populations.

Cloud: Storage

As the availability of social and mobile data increases, cloud storage and computing capabilities can enable health care organizations to access highly customizable, flexible, and scalable IT-based resources and services on demand through the Internet. Many health systems are moving towards off-premise application capabilities to help reduce cost, focus on mission-critical activities, and promote continued enhancements to core clinical systems.

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