Delivering efficient and effective care leading to better health for patients is the common purpose across all healthcare providers.
As data becomes more fluid, and advanced analytics more accessible to practices, it should be easier than ever to achieve that goal. But is it? To many providers, having too much information is the same as having none.
How can organizations unlock the right data at the right time to make decisions that are in the best interests of patients’ health and financial health? A growing number of healthcare leaders are finding the path to actionable insights by focusing on their purpose.
Simply stated, purpose-driven intelligence organizes and uses data and analytics around what’s most important to the business. For healthcare systems and groups, this can be particularly daunting because there are competing priorities and, often, many opinions on which ones are most important. Taken together, these principles offer a framework for leaders to transform data into actionable insights.
1. Identify Your Top Areas of Focus
It’s easy for organizations to get lost when they focus on too many things and assign the same level of importance to all of them. Consider what’s most important to your organization’s success at this time. By aggregating both financial and clinical data that correlates to those areas, leaders can pinpoint not only where performance is lagging, but also identify those areas that are most in their control to remedy. For example, an analysis on the top trending reasons for denials may reveal gaps in provider credentialing or a need to refresh staff training on coding. Additionally, organizations considering taking on more risk through value-based payment programs may prioritize clinical metrics for specific procedures or conditions to enable them to determine if they are positioned to be successful.
2. Go Small to Go Big
Once narrowed in on your purpose, there may be surprises. Taking cuts of the same data could yield big insights on specific facilities, providers or enterprise-wide processes that are driving issues. Some use this deep dive as an opportunity to clean up their data, like removing years-old balances off the books. Others use this as an opportunity to make small, but effective workflow adjustments, such as making it easier to see patient arrival and wait status, so staff can identify trends and diagnose issues with patient check-in and documentation. While these fixes, on their own may seem small, taken together, they can have a big impact on the very areas that are most impacting the business.
3. Engage at All Levels
It’s critical that leaders and staff buy into what you’re doing and are truly committed to taking action. Changing behavior is difficult, so it’s imperative that you consider who needs what data and how they prefer to consume it. Simple ways of showing key metrics will have a bigger impact than more creative and complicated reports. Some users have no desire to log into a dashboard, while others want to have a more interactive experience and the ability to view information in different dimensions. Regardless, one thing is critical – having staff agree upfront on what’s important to measure and that they are committed to acting on that information.
4. It’s About Time
Monitoring metrics over consistent time horizons is critical to identifying needs and charting the impact of changes made. With this, organizations can determine if they are doing better or worse, assess how performance is shaping up for the full year, and decide what it’ll take to do better than last year. Leaders armed with longitudinal performance data are much better able to engage colleagues, boards, and investors in discussions about growth strategies.
By taking a purposeful approach to data collection, analysis and action planning, organizations can improve physical and mental health outcomes for employees, while improving the overall experience by establishing new models and approaches to engage leadership and staff in data-enabled action.
The author, Adeel Sarwar, is Chief Technology Officer at CareCloud