For decades, the therapy and rehab industry has been leveraging evidence-based research as the basis for determining best practices. However, in today’s modern world of electronic medical records (EMR) and regulatory agencies requiring mandatory reporting, “big data” is still a concept that healthcare professionals have been struggling to understand since it’s about so much more than just meeting your baseline documentation needs. With business intelligence (BI) and analytics, you can unlock crucial insights from your data as well as leverage this information to make more informed decisions regarding your practice’s operational or financial health. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between business intelligence and business analytics. 

What Is Business Analytics?

Aside from BI, business analytics (BA) is a science that looks for patterns, trends or relationships in groups of “big data” and then draws conclusions based on the information it analyzes. While business analytics is closely related to business intelligence, there are some differences to be aware of, specifically, BA and BI answer different questions

  • Business analytics uses modeling and machine learning to answer the “why?” behind data. BA also relies on predictive analytics to determine the potential probability of future outcomes. While business analytics may sound complicated, much of the process is automated, so that providers can gain results quickly. 
  • Business intelligence relies on descriptive analytics to provide a summary of historical or current data. This is used to answer the questions “what works or what doesn’t?” and “how can it be changed?”. 

The Four Types Of Analytics

These four types of analytics, when considered together, provide the information any therapy practice needs to know: from the current state of operations to what solutions need to be implemented for optimizing functionality.

  • Descriptive Analytics. Explains what happened. Describes or summarizes the existing data and uses BI tools to provide a better understanding of what is going on or obtain clarity on what has already happened.
  • Diagnostic Analytics. Explains why something happened. Focuses on past performance as a method for understanding descriptive analytics and how those situations were caused. 
  • Predictive Analytics. Forecasts what may happen. Emphasizes predictions of possible outcomes utilizing statistical models and matching learning techniques.
  • Prescriptive Analytics. Recommends action based on what is forecasted. Offers one or more specialized courses of action after analyzing predictive analytics.

Incorporating these analytics into your therapy practice can make your entire team more productive. With business analytics, you can use accurate and current data to ensure that your decisions are based on a solid foundation of information, rather than just relying on unsupported intuition.

How Business Analytics Can Benefit Your Therapy Practice

Why is “big data” and analytics important in the healthcare industry? What’s in it for your business, patients and employees? Here are a few examples of how to use data to improve your delivery of patient care:

  • Improve Communication Between Patients and Therapists. Most patients ask, “How long will my treatment take?”. If your practice is using BA to manage plans of care, you’ll be able to compare similar patients as well as provide a better estimate of their timeline, the average pain or discomfort they can expect along with providing insight into how to avoid setbacks.
  • Create Measurable Goals For Patients. Using BA provides you with evidence of measurable outcomes, which you can use to set patient goals and develop better ways for meeting them more quickly. By leveraging data to improve your collaborative care efforts, you can more efficiently reduce costs and improve patient satisfaction.
  • Up Your Game. With access to all this data, you can compare your practice’s performance against other local providers and competitors as well as identify patterns, weaknesses or strengths, all of which you can use to guide your business strategy. 

Putting Business Analytics To Work 

Now that you understand business analytics and have a bit of insight into its potential, what should you do with this newfound knowledge? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Categorize patient profiles based on diagnosis and compare similar patients, so that your therapists can develop an estimated timeline for treatments of specific conditions.
  • Compare your facility’s treatment outcomes against national averages, with an eye toward any emerging patterns. Use this information to identify areas where your therapists may benefit from continuing education or additional training and let this guide your in-house staff development.

When goals are measurable, they are achievable. By making information available to your therapists and allowing them to be creative, you are empowering your staff to help patients achieve their goals faster as well as streamlining clinical efficiencies. Ready to kick your therapy and rehab practice up a notch? Let us show you how – check out our business intelligence and analytics platform.