Who Should Be on Your Healthcare BI Team?

By May 3, 2016Blog

With access to more data than ever and a growing emphasis on providing patients with value-based care, investing in a business intelligence (BI) software system is becoming a logical move for many healthcare organizations.

A strong BI system offers numerous benefits for organizations: cost savings, increased transparency, better decision-making and efficiencies across clinical, financial and operational departments. To make the most of this investment, it’s critical to have the right team in place, especially from the very beginning.

BI projects require both business and technical leadership. Whether it’s a CEO driving the project or an IT director heading up its implementation, both sides must communicate, cooperate and build a consensus on what they expect from the system and hope to accomplish with it. BI teams will look different, depending on the size of an organization and its needs, but here are four key players they all need to succeed.

  1. Supportive Management
    Having business stakeholders involved in the project gives it purpose and direction. These leaders can help nail down the requirements and objectives for the system by clearly communicating what they need to know, what they want to improve and how they want the information delivered. They help set the pace for project deliverables and keep team members focused – and their eye on the big picture keeps finances and timelines on track when the inevitable budget overruns and delays occur.
  1. Visionary Problem Solvers
    Every BI project has challenges that will surface along the way, so it’s vital to have problem solvers on the team who are not only focused on implementing the necessary technical requirements, but also developing creative solutions. Many teams have a designated solutions architect who keeps the project moving and the team engaged, and prioritizes efforts based on the most important decisions to make at the moment. Those working with the technical design of the project must be able to balance meeting the immediate needs for the system with developing capabilities for future use. Developers who can envision the best way to report and visualize data are also an asset.
  1. Data Stewards
    Knowing how to locate the information you need, ensure its accuracy and conform it to the standards you need is key to the success of any BI project. This is where a data gatekeeper can help. Having someone who understands the data you have available and how it can be used provides a valuable perspective for choosing the right BI tools and designing a strong system from the ground up. It also helps to have a small team dedicated to verifying, organizing and corralling data scattered across multiple departments, and bringing it together into a single database or data warehouse.
  1. BI Champions
    You can design the best BI system in the world, but bringing everyone else on board and persuading them to use it can be difficult, depending on the culture of your organization. Collaborating with representatives from multiple departments early on – including clinicians, administrators and IT staff – can help ease the transition and educate them about how BI can benefit them. Having a data analyst in house or someone who can work with end users to translate their needs into actionable requirements for the system also helps build the most effective product for everyone. Providing ongoing training and support for users is crucial for rapid adoption of the system – and it doesn’t hurt to have a few champions who will lobby for improvements when the newness of the system has worn off and upgrades are needed.

No two BI teams will ever be the same, but filling these roles from the outset will get the project moving in the right direction. An experienced health IT vendor who knows industry and the types of BI tools on the market can also be valuable partner on your team. Get the basics on how to implement a successful BI system into your organization in our white paper.

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