By Laura VanHolstyn
While several of our great staff were meeting with folks at our booth at the recent Healthcare Analytics conference in Chicago, I was busy absorbing information as an attendee at many fascinating sessions. I’ll be highlighting my experience over a series of blog posts, and I’ll start things off with an overview of the key messages I brought back to share with my team.
It’s no secret that healthcare analytics lag far behind data utilization in other industries. Our data are widely leveraged (and handed back to us) in our daily lives as companies deliver to us with everything from purchase reminders to entertainment suggestions to targeted advertisements. In this post, I’ll highlight the most frequently mentioned ways of integrating innovations from other industries into healthcare, as presented at the Healthcare Analytics conference:
The cross-industry representation at the conference, both in the leadership of some of the pioneering health care organizations and in the presentations themselves, highlight the fact that organizations want to shift strategically. Many featured organizations (both healthcare systems and healthcare-focused start-ups) are putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and hiring in analytics leadership from other industries, such as finance, retail, and telecomm. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, these organizations are borrowing the experience and expertise already established elsewhere in business.
I hear the concept of “enterprise” pretty regularly with healthcare organizations, generally in terms of bringing together disparate entities toward a common goal (or direction or toolset). The message from the conference was less about culture and more about the business side – not just an organizational mindset, but an enterprising approach to solutions. For example, one keynote speaker shared that their Enterprise Analytics department serves the entire organization, and so is funded as such. 50% of their budget comes from departments. This not only helps the Analytics department function with a more robust team, it also allows for greater accountability in supporting the needs of the departments it serves.
This paradigm shift really resonated with me, especially in the context of establishing a successful analytics program. In focusing away from Project Management and toward Product Management, we shift from a tactical solution for the short-term toward a strategic solution to address needs in the long(er) term. This allows analytics teams to align their energy with the strategic challenges of a new way of operating. Because access to data and analytics is so new in healthcare, operational subject matter experts are focused on their immediate data requirements, rather than looking ahead to how that need will evolve as their data consumption matures. By acknowledging the many levels of focus that compose a successful analytics team, from fulfilling immediate requests on time to framing efforts in a needs-based, strategic level of data management, analytics teams can have a deeper impact on the organization as a whole.
While enterprise analytics are an emerging tool within healthcare organizations, they are not new, nor are successful implementations enigmatic. By learning from other industries and taking a business approach to craft a direction and an approach, a successful analytics program is within reach.