How Data-Driven Healthcare Helps Nurses Make More Informed Decisions

In healthcare, nurses are consistently tasked with the burden of having to make countless important decisions every single day. While there are many talented nurses out there with highly developed specialized skills, carefully cultivated medical intuition, and a heightened ability to work under pressure, this still doesn’t completely safeguard them from the possibility of making faulty decisions. 

Though this may seem menial at first glance, the decisions that nurses have to make can have a profound effect on the health outcomes of the patients that they treat. 

Given the significant nature of the countless decisions that medical workers have to make on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise that many medical institutions are now looking to data analysis to help address this issue. Data gleaned in healthcare has the power to provide medical institutions and professionals with powerful insights that can guide their decision-making process and help them make more accurate and informed decisions. 

Becoming aware of the ways that data can help nurses in this arena can provide one with a deeper and more nuanced understanding of data and its relation to healthcare-related decision-making. 

Here is how data-driven healthcare helps nurses make more informed decisions. 

Understanding Data Analytics and Data-Driven Decision-Making in Healthcare

Today, healthcare institutions and providers can collect more data than ever before thanks to the increased utilization of digital technology. From patient demographics to understanding how well various individuals respond to different nuances in treatment, medical institutions can consistently collect an enormous amount of data on a variety of topics. While this is surely beneficial when it comes to having sizeable data sets to analyze, the sheer amount of data can also make it difficult to comb through and utilize. 

Though organizing data into usable sets is one of the biggest difficulties facing healthcare in the realm of data analytics, many new and innovative forms of software have made it easier for institutions to organize, validate, interpret, analyze, and glean insights from data. 

Despite the challenges of sorting data, there are many benefits of data analytics in healthcare. These benefits range from medical institutions being able to carry out better research to being able to better predict and improve patient health outcomes.

While interpreting and analyzing data can clearly be an asset when it comes to improving medical outcomes, it can also have a profoundly positive impact on health administrators’ ability to make informed decisions. As such, data-driven decision-making for health administrators is quickly becoming a more normalized process in healthcare institutions all across the country. 

As one could imagine, if data analytics can help inform the decision-making of researchers and healthcare administrators, it can also do the same for nurses. Gaining a clearer understanding of the potential that data analytics has to improve the decision-making process of nursing staffs can provide one with a deeper understanding of data’s far-reaching and significant potential to improve healthcare as a whole. 

Nurses and Data-Driven Healthcare

Healthcare institutions that take advantage of a data-driven approach have the opportunity to help their nursing staffs make better and more informed decisions consistently. Becoming aware of some examples of these cases can make it easier to understand why some feel so passionately about utilizing data analysis in healthcare. Here are some ways in which nurses can benefit from data-driven decision-making. 

Treating Patients with Personalized Treatment Options

One of the most profound and exciting benefits of data-driven decision-making in healthcare is the ability to craft personalized treatment plans for individuals based on data. This process involves looking at the data of other individuals with specific demographics that are similar to the patient in question and utilizing this data to craft treatment plans that will be most effective for the specific patient. 

For healthcare institutions that engage in this practice, nurses will be able to refer to a patient’s personal file and data analytics to help them make the countless decisions that they have to when actively treating the patient. Whether this is waiting a certain amount of time before giving the patient a certain medication or being able to give family members more accurate instructions for home care, this is one way that data can take some uncertainty out of the equation when it comes to the decisions that nurses must make. 

Catching Mistakes

While many nurses are amazing in their roles and deserve praise for their work, even the best professionals can sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, in the realm of healthcare, human error can have severe consequences on the health and well-being of patients. Accordingly, it makes sense that healthcare institutions would want to invest in practices and processes that help decrease — or eliminate — instances of human error in nursing. 

Data analytics lends itself as an amazing antidote to this problem — especially in the case of mistaken medicine. Many data analysis software is now able to monitor actions on patients’ accounts in real-time. This means that if a nurse were to accidentally prescribe the wrong medication or attempt to unknowingly administer a treatment that the patient is allergic to, the software could immediately notify the nurse in question. 

This example showcases data’s ability to decrease human error in healthcare and help nurses work to the best of their ability. 

Data-Driven Healthcare Can Improve Nursing

Though data-driven healthcare is gaining popularity, it has not yet become a ubiquitous aspect of healthcare as a whole. However, given the profound and countless benefits that that practice has to offer, more and more institutions are making it a point to incorporate data-driven decision-making into their operational processes. 

Nurses in particular will benefit tremendously from the adoption of data-driven healthcare, becoming more able to make better-informed decisions and avoid mistakes as a result. Given data’s incredible and broad uses in healthcare and technology’s rapid advances, it is more than likely that data analysis will become an inextricable part of healthcare in the near future. 

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