Current hot topics in healthcare analytics include user-centric dashboards and self-service reporting. These provide users with information they need, but don’t necessarily provide them with the means to extract key insights or take action on their results. I consider this to be traditional measurement, but propose that healthcare analytics must evolve into a rich management tool alongside these new features. Let’s explore the key steps to achieving this management goal.
Quantify Your Performance
Whenever a computer or device is in use in healthcare delivery, there is an opportunity to capture data. This is a natural starting point for either a measurement or management tool: both types of tools must empower users to build reports or identify key performance indicators (KPIs) from an authoritative source of data.
Know your Population
An authoritative data source is a great start, but a patient doesn’t leave a footprint in just a single system. Information about a patient spans many systems and the mash-up of this data from these sources is vital to producing meaningful and actionable analytics.
Incomplete data can lead to user distrust – “I see in system X that my patient has had this immunization; why doesn’t my report reflect that?” A complete view of the patient’s data, from all systems, enables deeper and more accurate insights.
Find the Signal in the Noise
An evolution from measurement to management relies on a user’s ability to explore the data on their own terms rather than with prepackaged KPIs. There are natural hierarchies within healthcare data that can aid users in this exploration. For example, a provider group is composed of individual practitioners, an inpatient facility has its departments, a grouping of diagnoses will narrow down into individual health issues and services, etc.
Exposing these natural hierarchies in a management tool helps users to uncover areas that warrant attention. For example, are particular classes of drugs having unexpected outcomes? Can a user spot a spike or drop in performance metrics for a single provider in a given facility? A user should be able to dig into data hierarchies and determine the factors affecting a particular metric.
Recent advances in analytics allow users to look at metrics in real time, providing an opportunity to intervene and change the course of performance trends. Therefore, an analytics management tool should enable users to do something with their data, such as:
- Identify quality compliance gaps and let users contact the provider to facilitate a necessary appointment or enroll patients into a campaign, which results in the patient being contacted by a care manager or receive a mailer reminding them of an important healthcare issue they should address
- Show the user a utilization hotspot and enable him to export data from this report to assign and share amongst their colleagues
- Provide opportunities to move insights into different applications, such as flagging patients who have not received a post-discharge outreach to ensure that a provider is performing appropriate due diligence (and tracking it in the appropriate application).
Measure Outcomes of your Actions
If an analytics application empowers a user take action, it certainly needs to measure the impacts of the interventions. It might report on the following:
- On average, how long did it take between the user’s action and the desired result?
- Are some users more successful at generating positive results?
- If a user is given many actions as part of an intervention, which is most effective at achieving the desired result quickly?
In summary, healthcare analytics applications are no longer just for quantifying performance from a single source. They’re beginning to help users find meaningful signals in large amounts of data, enabling users to take action, and measuring outcomes of these interventions. These improvements are the key to evolving analytics applications from measurement to management. If you’re interested in discussing how Caradigm can help evolve your reporting and measurement efforts then send us a note here.