One of the key trends in the health care industry in 2014 will be the use of big data to drive quality patient care and outcomes, according to GHX, a provider of an electronic trading exchange and technologies for health care.

The company predicts that 2014 will be a year of “great health care evolution, not necessarily revolution,” with organizations focused on decreasing costs while improving patient care. It identified what it considers the biggest trends for the coming year: industry consolidation and partnerships, collaborative approaches to industry issues, cooperation between health care trading partners and institutions, and having technology closer to the point of care to gain real-time analytics for better decisions for patient outcomes.

GHX says hospitals and other health care organizations will be exploring ways to get technology such as sensors and scanners closer to the delivery of care, so they can capture real-time data and compare it against large quantities of existing data to make better decisions to improve patient outcomes.

“From a technology perspective, we’re embarking on a time of ‘sensing and understanding’ in health care,” Steve Cochran, chief technology officer at GHX, said in a statement. “Hospitals and other organizations will be looking to capture data closer to the patient, closer to ‘the action,’ and analyze that data to make smarter, faster, better decisions that result in quality patient care and positive outcomes. Other industries have embraced the notion of big data analytics successfully, and we believe that 2014 is the time when health care will as well.”

GHX also predicts health care leaders will seek out shared technologies that they can use to collaboratively address common industry problems. The health care supply chain provides a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the value of this approach, the company says, because the costs caused by inefficiencies and lack of visibility are shared by all parties: manufacturers, distributors, group purchasing organizations, and hospitals and health care systems.

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