We have all heard the term “Big Data.” In healthcare, this term is often used to refer to large volumes of electronic health data, such as the contents contained in a healthcare organization’s electronic health record (EHR) or revenue cycle management (RCM) system. This collective data can reveal highly valuable insights to reduce costs, provide better patient care, and increase profitability. Healthcare organizations will often partner with a software and analytics vendor to implement technology solutions that aggregate and analyze their multiple sources of data.
However, planning for a data-driven implementation of a technology solution can be a daunting challenge, so we’ve provided some important considerations and best practices to help healthcare organizations prepare.
Understand the Business Requirements
First, it’s critical that healthcare organizations understand and build business requirements. The healthcare organization should have a clear understanding of exactly what it hopes to accomplish and challenges it hopes to address with the implementation of a technology solution.
When building business requirements, healthcare organizations should determine the following:
- Business Problem Statement
- Current Business Process
- Scope Statement
- Key Business Objectives
- Project Completion Criteria
- Risks & Limitations
- Cost and Scheduling Parameters
- New/Modified Business Process
- Training Needs
- Stakeholder List
- Quality Measures
Document your business requirements and share with your data implementation team to ensure you are all working toward the same goals.
Take Steps to Prepare Your Data
There are two important factors to consider when planning a data-driven implementation for your healthcare organization.
1. How Clean Is Your Data?
How accurate and complete is your data? Dirty data or missing data will impact your organization’s ability to deliver a quality outcome.
Do you have good data? Are there gaps? Do you have important data that is not currently captured? These factors help you determine how “clean” is your data.
Determine what steps to take to obtain codified data from your EHR or RCM tool, and take action now to ensure clean data.
2. How Do You Access Your Data?
Do you have access to the data source? What is the best method for getting the data to your vendor? Should it be pulled by the software vendor into their data warehouse or should your organization be pushing it to their servers?
Typically, a vendor knows what data attributes they need and can easily request access to your application and pull the data points needed for their application. However, if your organization’s policy is to push data to a vendor, work with your vendor to fully understand the specifications needed and format requirements. This step will prevent unnecessary delays and multiple rounds of quality assurance checks.
Involve the Right People
As your healthcare organization prepares for implementation of the technology solution, it’s important to involve the right people. Ensure the appropriate executives are on board and fully backing the initiative. Be sure your project team identifies the champion(s) for the overall implementation. Identify and involve key stakeholders, internal customers, and subject matter experts (SMEs) for a successful implementation.
Choose the Best Partner
Once you have created a strong plan for the new technology solution, it’s time to kick off and manage the data-driven implementation. Choosing the right partner will be a key contributing factor to the success of your implementation process.
Healthcare organizations should consider the vendor’s ability to:
- Collect and aggregate large volumes of data from several different sources (EHRs, claims data, survey data, etc.)
- Analyze the collective data to reveal valuable insights that the healthcare organization can understand and use in meaningful ways (close care gaps, identify trends, improve patient care, reduce costs, etc.)
- Perform direct data integration to obtain quality data codes, codified data, and map specific text data, where applicable
- Aggregate data with a per member or per patient methodology
SPH Analytics has developed a proven data-rich process for ingesting data. Our Nexus Platform is an innovative solution that uses proprietary Three Facet Data Mining to retrieve healthcare data from multiple sources with in-depth analytics that provide meaningful information to the healthcare organization including:
- Key insights from multiple sources of healthcare data
- Interactive dashboards to monitor physician performance, population health status, and key improvement measures
- Custom rules for specific data triggers, which can be used to initiate follow-ups based on certain patient health indicators
- Identification and measurement of improvements in a patient/population health
Contact SPH Analytics for a guided demo of our Nexus Platform.
Take Action Now
There are several important steps and factors to consider when preparing for a data-driven implementation of a technology solution, and it can be a multi-phase and complex endeavor. However, leading healthcare organizations realize the benefits and significant value of data-driven decision-making for improved efficiency, better patient care, and increased profitability. The best approach is to plan out the steps needed and take action now to begin the process.