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By Sarah C. Threnhauser

“What can be counted doesn’t always count, and not everything that counts can be counted” – William Bruce Cameron

When our team asks managers at health and human service organizations if they are “data literate,” the answer is almost always “yes.” But if you look at the definition of data literacy—the ability to derive meaningful information from data—I think many organizations are at the early stages of building a data literate organization (see It’s All About The Data! and A Data-Driven Culture: What It Is & Why It’s Important).

Tristan Keelan

But data literacy has moved from useful to essential with value-based reimbursement—and health and human service organizations need a new talent management plan to make that competency a reality. That was the frame of a presentation, Unlocking Creators & Consumers The Yin & The Yang of Behavioral Health Analytics, delivered by Tristan Keelan, Marketing Strategist at TenEleven at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute.

He described creating an organization with two types of team members participating in the data literacy equation—data creators and data consumers. The data creators are the people in the organization that have mastered the ability to utilize data tools and can create the visual reports necessary for driving agency analytics and information storytelling. The data consumers are the people in the organization that are utilizing that data to “drive positive outcomes and improvement for the agency and demonstrate success to payers.”

The data creator role is to take all the many data points that health and human service organizations collect (clinical outcomes, financial metrics, staffing and scheduling models, etc.) and to present it as meaningful information. These staff members are likely from the information technology team and need to be analytical and technically minded, while also having the flexibility to work with the data until the reporting meets management needs. The data consumer role, on the other hand, brings an in-depth understanding of what their teams need, and can work with data creators to build the necessary reports. These consumers can be either management, clinical staff, or external stakeholders –  all bring unique perspectives and have different data reporting needs.

The management challenge is getting these two groups to work together effectively. This requires open communication, constant collaboration, and a mutual understanding of limitations and expectations. Key to this process is training data creators to work collaboratively with the data consumers at building and editing the necessary reports. This will be an ongoing process that will evolve over the course of time, and demands data creators who aren’t afraid to make changes, discuss limitations, and set realistic expectations. It also requires training data consumers to actively participate in the process – not to simply make demands and expect perfect results. There must be a synergy between the two groups that starts with a mutual understanding of what information is ultimately needed and how it will be utilized. Once that baseline is established both groups must work back and forth to find the best way to achieve the data and reporting goals of the organization.

I reached out to OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Jim Gargiulo, who noted that as we move to a more consumer-focused model of care, the key to data management is having a team that understands what data is meaningful to staff, consumers, and payers. He explained:

To empower the consumer and to make them integral to the treatment experience requires more than data; it requires useful and meaningful information that facilitates and supports consumer decisionmaking when seeking and when in care. It potentially means the development of systems that capture not only data points from the care experience, but also from life experience, such as social determinants, and presents a holistic, longitudinal view of the case process. To do this requires systems to capture data within and outside the four walls of a single provider organization, and to present it in ways that make a difference.

For more on the challenges of making sure your “data counts,” check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:

  1. Big Data To Survive, Sustain & Succeed
  2. Can Data Fix It?
  3. Population Health Demands Managing By Exception – With Data
  4. Is Your Organization Data Reactive – Or Data Predictive?
  5. Using Technology To Move Human Services From A Program Focus To A Consumer Focus
  6. How To Make ‘Little Data’ Work For Your Organization
  7. Managing In A Tech-Enabled World
  8. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Moving To An Organizational Measurement Culture
  9. From Data Modeling To Data-Driven Decisions
  10. Performance Data, Dashboards & Metrics-Based Management: Meaningful Data For Meaningful Decisions
  11. Fulfill The Mission, Sustain The Margin
  12. Getting More From Your EHR
  13. The Future Of Reimbursement: Paying For Value
  14. Is Your EHR Up To The Challenge Of Value-Based Reimbursement?
  15. Metrics-Based Management For Value-Based Reimbursement

For more, join my colleague Joseph Naughton-Travers, Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS on October 24 at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute for his seminar, “How To Make The Right Tech Investments For Your Organization: An OPEN MINDS Executive Seminar To Technology Budgeting & Planning.”

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