“The organizations that can make data sharing work with their payer and provider partners are organizations that will have a huge competitive advantage” (see Fixing The Data Sharing Problem).
“Rapid management decisions are central to successful population health management. And this requires integrating clinical, financial, and administrative data in ways that distill information to provide insight for management” (see Data > Information = Population Health Management).
“The macro shift to value-based reimbursement requires some preparation. The place to start? Improve your organization’s ability to capture data about your clients, their health status, and their utilization history” (see First Medicare, Now Pennsylvania Medicaid).
“It’s not the amount of data that’s important. It’s the ability to analyze that data for even better strategic decisions” (see From Data Modeling To Data-Driven Decisions).
“The improved use of data is key – from accessing data, to using data for operations and decision support, and to using data for reporting outcomes to payers and consumers” (see Is Value-Based Reimbursement Really Here? It’s Hard To Tell).
If I were to read these quotes from some of our previous articles, I might be led to believe that having data will fix a myriad of strategic issues in any health and human service organization. And certainly, the inability to use data is a great organizational competency problem. Data analytics will soon drive health and human services organizations towards the delivery of the right service to the right person at the right time, maximizing the organization’s ability to be paid for performance. Managing with metrics, negotiating value-based contracts, and navigating payer performance requirements all demand executives teams have a command of data and managers that excel at data analytics. But as we know, having data and using data are two very different things.
For executive teams today, there are two aspects to using data: knowing the right questions to ask of the data, and being able to extract the right answer. But there are some obstacles in moving executive teams to using the data. A recent Harvard Business Review article, The 4 Mistakes Most Managers Make With Analytics, highlighted these trouble spots and provides a guide to the common problems facing all health and human service organizations.
Not Understanding the Issues of Integration – Just because you have data (particularly data in different systems) doesn’t mean it can be combined for reporting purposes. How do you take “siloed data” and integrate it into a usable format for management? There is a big need for understanding how to combine data in “data warehouses” or “data lakes.”
Not Realizing the Limits of Unstructured Data – While some organizations are relying on “data warehouses” to store vast amounts of “unstructured” data, it hasn’t traditionally been as valuable (or usable) as structured data. Advances in mining text-based data and advances in speed and accuracy of existing data analysis practices are allowing organizations to use this data in new ways. The key is to have team members with the “tradecraft” to help understand what data is available and the potential (and limits) to using for competitive advantage.
Making Bad Assumptions Without Understanding Data – Having data isn’t the same as knowing what the data means from an organizational perspective, or how to use it to improve performance. “Low productivity” is a typical “finding” from data analysis, but it is data with many possible explanations. Not enough appointments? High “no show’ rates? Bad scheduling practices? Poor clinical process design? Slow EHR interfaces? In a metrics-driven organization, managers need skills to work with data to uncover “the real problem” and design solutions.
Underestimating The Professional Skills Needed – I call this “so much data, so little time.” Applied analytics and informatics is a skill, and a skill that takes time to yield results. Organizations need to both budget for professionals with the skills and “choose wisely” (to quote one of my favorite movies, Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade) when asking for performance reports.
For the executive teams of tomorrow, these obstacles just may disappear. Do you want to take a peek at what the future of data analytics holds? Then make sure to check out Best Practice Leadership Is Leadership With Analytics, in the OPEN MINDS Industry Library. And be sure to join me on November 10 at The 2016 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute for the opening plenary, “Cognitive Computing & Big Data: How They Will Shape The Future Of Care Coordination,” by Craig Rhinehart, Director, IBM Watson Health Innovation and Market Development, IBM Watson Health.