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The Secret Sauce of Analytics Success

Paul Boal

 

Last week, I introduced the first of four key steps in securing better analytics outcomes. Whereas step one was all about tightening things up at the top to deliver more specific guidance along with your analytic insights, this week we’re swinging in the opposite direction.

Step 2: Loosen at the Bottom

Traditionally, the formal process for data-gathering in an organization has been somewhat paternalistic and rules-oriented. When you consider that a data system needs the right type of information in the right format to be of any practical use, that makes a lot of sense. But data governance that relies on tightly controlled review and multiple layers of oversight is no longer a recipe for success.

The Changing Dynamics of Data

That’s because the volume and variety of data—and the capability to manage it—has drastically changed. Today’s data systems are able to accommodate and interpret a wider range of data than ever before. What may have been considered “garbage” only a few years ago may actually be key information today. That means healthcare leaders need to rethink the rules about the type of data that enters their systems, and how it does so. A looser strategy is in order.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but you have to consider which model gets you closer to achieving valuable outcomes in an environment where nuance is important:

  • Force documentation and communication into genericized responses so that they conform to an artificially simple model of reality; or
  • Provide a combination of structured documentation and discrete data elements whenever necessary, but take into consideration the necessary variation and nuanced documentation that signals critical differences and changes in situations

A Humble Hero

Oddly enough, the key to better healthcare analytics outcomes may rest in the deceivingly dull domain of data governance. You could argue (as I clearly am) that taking in a wider range of data types and actually putting them to good use could generate a whole new class of unexpected insights. In a healthcare organization, that could mean helping to identify patient non-compliance with prescribed care, how to improve clinical operations in the ER or a whole host of outcome-based insights that could make a huge dent in improving patient care and results. 

Skip the Wait

Next week, I’ll dive in deeper to explore steps three and four in the quest for better analytics results. If your content consumption preferences lean more toward the “binge” end of the spectrum, cut straight to the chase and download the full eBook now.