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ResourcesData Bytes Newsletter

Data is the key to transformation in healthcare

By Jake Hochberg, VP, Analytics and Chief Analytics Officer at Arcadia
Data Interoperability and Integration Data Management and Quality

There was a customer during my early days at Arcadia that waited a long time to go live with data analytics after implementation. This isn’t uncommon. There’s often a tendency to hold off on launching a new platform until everything's perfect, but if your organization’s users and product champions can get the platform to 80-90%, it’s worth getting started. Waiting for “perfection” can actually delay real, tangible gains like an 8% improvement in outcomes or a 35% increase in operational efficiency – results that could have been accrued from day one.

Once we rolled up our sleeves and got past the initial data validation stage, that early client started to use their data to make decisions. They were quickly able to identify the value of certain programs they were running and change the way they incentivized providers based on the metrics that were really driving progress.

Just six months later, this client was able to roll out a hospice program with data driven patient identification. More generally, I saw them starting to move towards a “look before you leap” mentality, where they were making decisions informed by the database. This included avoiding costly mistakes — there was a program they considered rolling out, but an outcomes analysis we helped them with showed that moving forward wouldn’t be worth the investment. Data plays both defense and offense — it can help you increase earnings, but it can also prevent you from losing valuable time and resources.

With so many stakeholders involved, preparation can go a long way to mitigate doubts around using data with new technology. A new tech investment should have a clear purpose, a clear use case, and a clear rationalization for the investment, and this needs to be communicated to everyone involved. This is something an executive champion at the top of the organization can drive, engaging technical, clinical, and operational stakeholders to get buy-in, gain adoption, and achieve results quickly. Like Netflix to cable TV or Google to the internet, disruptive technology can radically change the world. Data and, by extension, advanced AI are going to shape the healthcare industry over the next 10 years. The transformation’s already begun — where does that leave today’s healthcare organizations?

We’ve already moved to a point where it’s less a question of ‘Should we use data,’ and more a question of ‘Do we have the right resources to use data?’ Data lets us map current performance against future goals, whether those are financial incentives or closing care gaps. If we can’t measure, we can’t drive improvements.

Ultimately, I recommend being mindful of the problems you want to solve today, but also looking further down the road. Where do you want to be when you grow up in terms of technology and data-driven processes? The organizations that get this right today are going to thrive as data becomes the primary currency of healthcare. I encourage you to think about how small improvements in data utilization in the short term can help drive a huge efficiency and outcomes in the long term.

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