Data and Analytics in Trauma Nursing

By Dan Matthews, Writer, Content Consultant, and Researcher
Twitter: @danielmatthews0

The use of data and analytics can help healthcare become more accurate, efficient, and personalized to individual patient needs. At hospitals and individual practices, healthcare professionals are already collecting and using big data to enhance telemedicine, optimize staffing, create more effective treatment plans, and more. However, data isn’t just useful in primary and preventative care. There’s also potential to use data and predictive analytics in the fast-paced world of trauma nursing, particularly in the following four areas.

Improve Patient Outcomes

While data solutions of the past were often too slow to support trauma centers, the immediacy of modern predictive analytics is rising. Even before trauma patients arrive in hospitals, paramedics can use ambulatory EHR systems to document a patient’s vital signs during transportation and offer instant patient outcome predictions. If this data is instantly communicated to hospital EHR systems, where care teams can compare ambulatory data with relevant medical records, trauma care teams can more efficiently determine the right course of action and save lives.

Researchers have also found that pre-hospital data has the potential to help trauma teams identify patients who need blood transfusions and other emergency procedures. As predictive analytics becomes more actionable, accurate, and easily shareable between providers, case managers can use data to quickly determine the right type of care for a patient during the intake process, then streamline follow-ups and the discharge process.

Better Serve Diverse Demographics

Trauma nurses frequently work with diverse populations. This is especially the case for trauma nurses in vacation cities, which see global tourists engaged in risky activities (such as excessive drinking and water sports). When diverse patients enter the trauma unit, health practitioners must be prepared to individualize their care — even without access to an international patient’s medical records.

While trauma nurses don’t always have time to assess a patient’s language preferences or complete medical history, predictive analytics can help nurses identify risk factors in certain demographics for better decision-making. As hospitals use data to identify the populations they most frequently serve, they also can improve their training processes for trauma nurses to enhance outcomes for all patients over time.

Optimize Patient Healthcare Coverage

It’s no secret that the cost of healthcare can be an enormous burden for patients, especially when they’re faced with unexpected hospital visits and the need for long-term care after treatment in the trauma unit. Data collected by trauma nurses on patient treatments, length of stays, and more can help hospitals, insurance providers, and the government expand or improve private and state healthcare coverage in a member-centric way.

Data and analytics also have the potential to help health insurers personalize coverage based on their individual healthcare needs. If healthcare data reveals frequent admission into trauma centers for strokes, insurance agents can better match a patient’s coverage to their usage. In some cases, trauma centers may even be able to use data to select treatment options that are well-covered by a patient’s healthcare insurance plan, so their bills can be reduced without decreasing their quality of care.

Find Ways to Improve Your Bottom Line

Healthcare expenditures can be enormous for trauma centers, too. Through the use of predictive analytics, hospitals can enhance the triage system by streamlining patient evaluations. Predictive analytics has the potential to automate the identification of patients who need to be seen immediately, based on your prioritization factors.

Hospitals can also use data to create better staffing plans, improve inventory restocks, and more based on their trauma center’s average needs. This way, trauma centers remain well-staffed and well-stocked during busy hours or seasons — and they don’t need to waste unnecessary resources or cash.