Big Data Can is Helping Prevent Unnecessary ER Visits

Big Data Analytics has found various uses in the healthcare sector. The most notable of them are the uses in the Electronic Health Records (EHR), Real-Time Alerting, and usage in the cure of cancer. Apart from these, another critical use of big data analytics in healthcare is how it has the potential to reduce Emergency Room (ER) visit.


It is necessary for big data analytics to save money and energy in healthcare. Take the case of this woman from California for example, who visited the ER more than 900 times in the past 3 years. She suffers from mental illness and substance abuse and went to a variety of local hospitals on an almost daily basis. Lack of shared medical records between local emergency rooms only escalated the situation, increasing the cost to taxpayers and hospitals, and making it harder for this woman to get good care. “Everybody meant well. But she was being referred to three different substance abuse clinics and two different mental health clinics, and she had two case management workers both working on housing,” Tracy Schrider, who coordinates the care management program at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland stated in a Kaiser Health News article.

Alameda county hospitals came together to create a program called PreManage ED in order to prevent future situations like this from happening. The program shares patient records between emergency departments and lets ER staff know things like:

  • If the patient they are treating has already had certain tests done at other hospitals, and what the results of those tests are.
  • If the patient in question already has a case manager at another hospital, preventing unnecessary assignments.
  • What advice has already been given to the patient, so that a coherent message to the patient can be maintained by healthcare providers.

Hospitals without PreManage ED would repeat tests over and over in the past, and even if they could see that a test had been done at another hospital, they would have to go old school and request or send a long fax just to get the information they needed. The program is a stepping stone in the big data implementation of healthcare.

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