Analytics is going to become a key element of healthcare in the not too distant future, offering vast improvements to the care to be provided for patients.
That's according to Bob Gladden, vice president of decision support and informatics for CareSource, a Ohio-based healthcare provider that aims to provide support for those lower down the income scale who might not otherwise have access to medical services.
"Analytics is allowing us to find and identify folks who need certain kinds of services, folks that we believe to have indications of illnesses coming, getting in front of that and having those conversations with the members, helping them navigate the system," Gladden told Computing.
The interview took place at SAS Premier Business Leadership Series 2013, the big data and analytics solution provider's conference in Orlando, Florida. CareSource uses SAS analytical tools to handle all of its data.
Gladden emphasised how proper examination of analytics can help make medical care less complicated for those who might have additional problems, especially those who might find it difficult to obtain sufficient levels of insurance or to attend a doctor's surgery.
"It's a complicated environment for anybody to traverse but it's even more complicated for folks that have problems others don't have," he said.
"So anything we can do to make that easier for our members and give them a better service is certainly something we want to pay attention to."
And Gladden told Computing that analytics is going to be hugely important part in helping CareSource and every other medical organisation provide better healthcare to patients as it will help medical professionals better understand their needs.
"We believe analytics is going to play a critical part in healthcare across the board and it's going to play a critical part in the delivery of healthcare," he said.
"It's going to play a critical part in the payers side of healthcare. It'll play a critical part in the members' understanding what their needs are and what their risks are down the road."
Gladden admits that there might be some initial resistance to the use of analytics in healthcare, but that like the introduction of robotic surgery into operations, it will eventually be accepted as normal.
"The acceptance of this will be a little slow just as the acceptance of robotic surgery has been a little slow," he said.
"That's starting to change, and there will some folks a few years from now who will say they don't want a human operating on them but they want a machine operating on them. It seems odd to say that, even today, but we're not that many years away from getting to that point."
And when analytics becomes a mainstream tool in healthcare, Gladden believes it will vastly improve the service for patients.
"We're not that many years away from analytics really being the driving diagnostic indicator of what our members need as opposed to someone having to pour through hundreds of pages of information to try and understand what their needs are," he said.