Are you Swimming in (Actionable) Data?

December 4, 2015
iVantage Health

By John Whittlesey, Vice President of Client Services

As we look across the healthcare landscape at the end of 2015, two questions rise prominently to the top; (1) how will hospitals offset declining reimbursements and (2) how can hospitals smoothly transition to value-based models?

There’s no doubt that data will play a key a role in answering both. There is widespread acknowledgement among hospital leadership that sophisticated use of analytics will guide their strategic decision-making process. The challenge isn’t a lack of data today. In fact it’s quite the opposite. Too many hospitals are flooded in data, and trying to identify the metrics which matter most – those that can provide clarity and accuracy – is a massive hurdle.

When the topic of actionable data arises, you hear a lot of chatter about disparate systems and silos. While these factors do contribute to muddy the waters it’s critical to also acknowledge that the data you need may have to be aggregated in a very specific manner or may not even be within the applications currently available to your data team.

If I were to ask you whether or not there’s a revenue gap between your hospital and your peers for a specific service line or with a specific payor, would you have those metrics easily accessible?

Or if we wanted to talk about lost patient volume, would you have the data to tell you where patients from either your primary or secondary service areas are seeking treatment – and for which services?

When I see a Top Challenges list for 2016, I’m glad to see the need for actionable data make the cut. The ability to turn data into action is absolutely essential in today’s environment. But with much data already residing within hospitals, we can’t assume that the answers are there as well. If you do, you may end up swimming in circles.

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