Healthcare industry data leaders are making great strides towards data maturity, both in the back office and on the front lines
Corinium’s inaugural Data Champions Online, Healthcare online event brought together a select group of data analytics executives from North America’s leading healthcare providers and hospitals from May 27-28.
The industry may be fraught with challenges. But this unique event revealed that pioneering leaders are making great strides towards putting data at the heart of their organizations and driving innovation on the frontline and in the back office.
Through a combination of stakeholder management, precise technology selection and implementation and continuous education, CDAOs and data analytics leaders are building truly data-driven healthcare organizations.
Success Breeds Success for Data Leaders
The classic business mantra is ‘start small, aim high, fail fast’. However, to succeed as a data analytics leader in healthcare, executives need to start small, aim high and deliver ROI.
Through a combination of internal pitching and consulting, data and analytics leaders must identify opportunities to maximize results by cutting costs, increasing revenue, accelerating patient flow or optimizing revenue cycles.
Critically, the first project must be high value, with a demonstrable ROI. One executive from a ‘top 10’ hospital recalled delivering $10 million in year-on-year savings from their department’s first project. This opened the door to future investment opportunities.
Another speaker shared their ‘always say yes’ approach to projects. They said this helped them cut their teeth internally, build a critical level of trust and demonstrate the data team’s value time after time.
Be careful, though. As successes start to snowball, data leaders often find they quickly reach the point where internal demand for data outstrips their team’s capacity to deliver new solutions.
Simplicity Wins the Day in Healthcare Data
One executive revealed that upon their arrival at their current role, their organization had every tool and platform under the sun. While this might seem a luxury to some, it quickly became clear that great tools do not necessarily equate to great results. In fact, the key is simplicity.
This simplicity comes in two forms: 1) Simple to integrate and implement with legacy systems, and 2) simple for stakeholders to use, understand and action. (More than 80% of the audience cited legacy systems as their number one blocker on the road to AI implementation.)
Several speakers echoed this point of view across the two days. In healthcare, key stakeholders are often well-trained and highly skilled care providers. But they are not necessarily data literate.
In this fast-paced, high-stakes environment, simplicity and ease-of-use must be the main criteria when it comes to tool selection.
Alignment with Business Units is Essential
There is a lot to be said for regular interaction and close collaboration in healthcare. Several speakers cited the proximity of their data analytics function with key stakeholders as a critical factor to their success.
Embedding the function into the organization is essential to facilitate two-way knowledge sharing, trust building and mutual understanding. It is often said that business and industry knowledge are as important for data scientists as technological proficiency – and this is a key driver behind this approach.
Increasing the analytics function’s understanding of the business’ needs helps data and analytics leaders to identify opportunities to put data to work and drive greater results.
At the same time, increasing the organization’s understanding of what the data analytics function is and does helps to establish trust and credibility, thereby providing a platform for future collaboration.
A Little Goes a Long Way in Patient Experience
In a world where consumers expect a seamless customer experience (CX), healthcare as an industry must respond and deliver a high-value, high-quality patient experience (PX). And when it comes to PX, the small things make a big difference.
Several speakers shared how they are collecting data and applying insights to drive incremental PX improvements, from improving hospital food to enhancing the admissions, discharge and aftercare processes. These seemingly minor, but very human, changes can lead to a tremendous uplift in patient satisfaction scores.
Simply collecting patient survey data, analyzing it and helping stakeholders to action it can go a long way in challenging perceptions around PX and providing comfort to patients when they need it most.