To deliver context-aware, technology-enabled healthcare in 2021, organizations must accelerate insights by establishing and implementing processes, tools and technologies to enable shared understanding of data and the information lifecycle. Transforming data into knowledge that can guide strategic decision making and help drive data as an enterprise-wide asset. 

Data will be the differentiator as we move from fee-for-service to value-based care. It powers insights into customer circumstances, needs and preferences that providers can leverage to give the kind of individualized care that patients expect, and that directly benefits the bottom line. For payers, data enables improved quality and efficiency while reducing unnecessary care and improving outcomes. Analytical tools – expertly deployed – can help health entities cull petabytes of data for measurable, believable and actionable information that supports diagnosis and treatment.  

Between increased competition, growing regulatory complexity and innovation – the ability to manage large, diverse data and accelerate insights holds the power to transform healthcare, unlocking new sources of value and creating competitive differentiation. 

Historically we’ve generated big data in the form of EHRs, compliance and regulatory requirements, moving from a hard copy form to digital. Our job has been to deliver a service – not manage and analyze data. The need to accelerate insights means organizations must establish and implement the people, processes and technology (PPT) to enable a shared understanding of data and the information lifecycle.  

Saddled with legacy systems and siloed data environments, we’re behind the curve managing big data with the challenge only growing as the volume of data simultaneously increases. As the industry seeks to implement digital technologies and become more data driven, we have yet to master the proliferation of data and its application towards strategic decision making.  

Siloed and legacy data environments, business processes, lack of people, skill sets and cultures resistant to change are some of the greatest impediments to data-driven healthcare. To truly enable, embed and innovate – organizations need to drive data as an asset through a holistic understanding of how data and PPT work hand-in-hand to gain momentum towards strategic objectives.  

Data as an Asset 

Data flows like a river through any organization, accumulating at unprecedented rates. It must be managed from capture through its consumption and utilization at various points along the way. Gartner reported that by the end of 2020, only 20% of organizations today have a full, healthy understanding of data literacy.   

Data-driven organizations see data as a business asset providing them with the information to make informed decisions while having a clear understanding of their data to properly interpret results.  

How do you define a length of stay when everyone might not be on the same page with regards to what it means? A clinician defines a length of stay as the time between admission and discharge. However, finance might define it by when insurance approval is verified. To properly analyze results for a length of stay, the data point needs to be explicitly defined with a common understanding among stakeholders. Once a solid definition is established, strategic conversations can begin that directly impact overall business goals.  

Where to Start? 

Data is one of, if not the most valuable asset in any organization, especially as we transition to a post-COVID world. Enabling a shared understanding of data and articulating its importance should be a key strategic initiative of any organization. But where to start?  

Begin with an audit of the current state of your organization: 

  1. Do you understand data within your organization? 
  2. Does the data produced meet your business needs? 
  3. Are your data resources and technologies aligned?  

As data becomes intertwined with the fundamental success of your business, you must refocus your strategy on how the business interacts with and benefits from data, rather than the technologies employed along the way. Implementing emerging technologies won’t be enough to reach a future-state vision, because as we evolve – so will the people, processes and technology that work in and around us.  

Data in Your DNA 

The success of accelerating insights hinges on becoming a data-driven organization. Out of 85 Fortune 100 and industry leading firms, 99% report investments in data and AI over the past year. But for many, the feat is easier said than done. Especially when the pressures of COVID-19 have pressed fast forward on necessary digital transformation initiatives.  

For organizations to accelerate insights and make smarter decisions, a solid data environment is based on four building blocks: 

  1. Organizational strategy and goals: Without connecting data initiatives to clearly defined high-impact business goals, leaders can’t build credibility for their data investments and they will fail time and time again.  
  2. Culture and data literacy: Forging a data culture means having difficult conversations around results and reporting, and incorporating data into decision-making processes. Culture is one of the biggest impediments to data initiatives as a lack of data literacy hinders progress.  
  3. People managing data as an asset: Investments in data also mean investments in people. Programs that build awareness of the value and impact of data along with people like a Chief Data Officer to proactively manage and analyze data is vital.  
  4. The producing technology solution: A seemingly high-impact investment, technology is a supporting tool towards accelerating insights and the final building block of a data-driven organization.  

With a wide variety of systems feeding and informing a single data point, organizations need robust competency to properly map how data flows throughout. By understanding the current state and how data aligns with PPT, healthcare can refocus strategies not just around IT developments – but long-term business objectives.  

While there were apparent setbacks in the past year, robust opportunities also lie amongst volumes of data. Accelerating insights is a process that unfolds over time. As a partner to your data journey, emids can arm your healthcare organization with a greater understanding of data, going beyond technology to leverage data as a high-impact enterprise asset 

Download our 2021 Outlook Report for more on this and four key healthcare trends to better understand how you can accelerate insights for long-term value and enterprise-wide impact. 

Nicci Cosolo, BSN, MAEd, serves as the Solutions Director for emids. She has 30+ years of experience including nursing, leadership management/operations, EMR implementation/optimization, Epic data/reporting, analytics and informatics, as well as leading strategic EMR reporting and nursing initiatives. Her expertise includes developing, building, designing, validating and implementing information systems. She is a seasoned veteran as the senior executive of EMR planning along with support/creation of teams such as data governance, reporting and clinical informatics.  

If you’re interested in learning more about emids’ solutions, connect with Nicci on LinkedIn or contact us at engage@emids.com.