The promise of data is huge – enormous clinical and financial rewards, less work, quantifying patient health habits and some form of IBM’s revered Watson supercomputer in every practice.
The 2012 U.S. Hospital Health Data Analytics Market report revealed that 50% of U.S. hospitals are expected to have implemented health data analytics tools by 2016, which represents an annual compound growth rate of 37.9%. In an ever-changing healthcare sector, it’s not wise for the private practice to be left behind.
Still, the industry faces serious technical and strategic challenges. Health data is diverse, complicated and unstructured across a range of criteria, making it very difficult for, say, a small practice doctor to penetrate – especially if he/she has limited experience operating in the tech sphere.
Below are some healthcare analytics tips for more business-minded physicians, no prior experience required.
Choose the right system for reporting. If you’re going to use analytics to better organize your business, don’t choose an inefficient one that’ll further complicate matters. A recent KLAS report titled Business Intelligence: Making Cents of Performance outlines some helpful features that providers searching for (or currently using) analytics tools should keep in mind. These include:
- Quick implementation
- Easy-to-use interface
- Customizable to suit unique organizational needs
- Ability to develop personalized dashboards for users
- Flexibility to accommodate other parties like pharmacies, health plans, government entities, financial institutions, etc.
Integrate analytics with training. Practices should teach analytics to new hires, from staff members to doctors. This will help every member of the office understand how analytics data helps both patients and the execution of his/her daily tasks, to the point where seeing through data goggles becomes second nature.
Use dashboards for doctors at your practice to visualize data. As analytics move platforms closer to real-time processing and reporting – at the point of care, even – your practice should focus on updating processes and developing capabilities to enable analytics tool use, namely on the topic of real-time clinical decision support.
Use Google Analytics for online marketing efforts. Make sure your Google configuration is up to date and set up metrics goals for your website, e.g., conversion on opt-in forms, and engagement in the form of time on site and page depth.
Spot barriers to analytics adoption. According to an IBM study, titled “The Value of Analytics in Healthcare,” many healthcare executives have a difficult time differentiating bad and good data.
If this is not the case, other common barriers include lack of data-driven culture, lack of connecting the power of analytics to business improvement tactics, lack of management bandwidth or a perception that costs outweigh benefits.
Adopt an EHR that provides business data. Some people are huge fans of 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioners combos. While this is a more a serious investment, purchasing an EHR system with a built-in analytics platform may be the right choice for practices that don’t have the time or budget to seek solo solutions.
Humanize the data. While this may seem obvious, making the data accessible and friendly to humans – who will, after all, be employing, analyzing and making full use of it – is essential. In this case, usability may be the most crucial element of an effective analytics system because you and your staff simply will not use a tool that makes their jobs more difficult.