3 Steps Any Healthcare Organization Can Take to Improve Enterprise Analytics

By Kristin Weir

When it comes down to the most basic purpose of why organizations use analytics, it’s simple: they want to uncover insights that help them take the next best step or make the best decision.

These healthcare organizations often need, however, all the components of the enterprise analytics story to be able to do that.

Unfortunately, few organizations today have that capability because of the fragmented nature of the healthcare analytics industry. There are hundreds of vendors claiming to do healthcare analytics in the market. Many of those vendors offer wonderful point solutions, whether it be for population health, revenue cycle management, cost and operations, or employer reporting. But this partitioning of analytics has led to organizations purchasing upwards of 20 or more different solutions.

Each niche solution is like a chapter in the entire book of the enterprise analytics story that the organization is telling. The problem in that scenario is that each chapter is from 20 different books and they don’t tell a comprehensive story. In analytics terms, those chapters are not interoperable.

Organizations with multiple niche solutions are faced with trying to stitch together chapters from different books to create their stories. One book is a mystery, the next a romance, the next is sci-fi and so forth. By the time a single story is created, the narrative is confusing, incomplete and utterly incomprehensible by end-users.

Reading chapters from the same book, however, helps healthcare tell a comprehensive, single, trustworthy story. They can weave together insights from different chapters to arrive at the conclusion.

What does having one book mean from an enterprise analytics perspective? With enterprise analytics, you are extending analytics across the healthcare ecosystem. You’ll be able to accelerate goals and solve business challenges, improve outcomes for providers, strengthen cost and quality for health plans, and create a single source of truth on one platform with interoperable solutions.

Why do healthcare organizations use so many different vendors? There are a variety of reasons, but these are the top two:

  1. They may have purchased at the department level versus the enterprise level, which often puts the focus of the procurement only on the needs of the department.
  2. As healthcare has evolved, new requirements for enterprise analytics have emerged. Existing vendors may have done a, b, and c well, but now there’s a need for x, yand z; and that is something the original vendor can’t solve for.

This becomes very costly for the healthcare organization, which is bogged down with lengthy implementations for each of these different solutions. Once the disparate solutions are stitched together, they generally aren’t working together or integrated, and lead to multiple different “sources of truth.” When executives attempt to piece this together at an aggregate level, it can become two weeks or longer to process the data or, worse, a complete inability to pull together what they need, leading to a lack of confidence in the results.

How high-performing healthcare organizations use EA

High-performing healthcare organizations have a defined enterprise analytics strategy. They assess and determine their needs across the entire organization and apply a solution that solves for as many of them as possible.

The most advanced create performance metrics that map to goals and initiatives associated with their organization and the reason for buying their enterprise analytics solution in the first place:

  1. They have a strong voice with their enterprise analytics vendor to ensure that as their needs change, the vendor will have a solution able to adapt to those changes.
  2. Stay abreast of the challenges within the healthcare organization and the ways new enterprise analytics functionality can be used. Then determine a cadence and a plan for how they will deploy new functionality out to their users.
  3. Determine the best practices for use of the enterprise analytics solution and communicate that out to all leaders and users.

With enterprise analytics, you extend data understanding across the healthcare organization. You’ll be able to accelerate goals and solve business challenges, improve outcomes for providers, strengthen cost and quality for health plans and create a single source of truth on one platform and with one vendor to enable even smarter decision making.

Three steps any healthcare organization can take to improve EA

Healthcare organizations can use the following three steps as touchpoints during their enterprise analytics journey.

  1. First things first, make sure you have an enterprise analytics solution. But in all seriousness ensure you are truly considering the analytics needs you have across your entire organization, not only today but in the future. Plan your work and work your plan. That performance management piece is key to the success of an enterprise analytics strategy. Tracking measurable results will not only reward you with favorable outcomes and help you see the return on your investment, but it will also help drive user adoption throughout the organization. Your organization needs a way to operationalize analytics solutions internally. Your organization can purchase analytics to achieve a business outcome, but it requires proper use and the ability to track the effectiveness of the solution and the organization.
  2. Your healthcare organization needs to be able to personalize analytics solutions to meet your needs. While there are common themes, market trends and problems to solve for, your organization’s approach to solving those problems can drastically differ. Enterprise analytics is not one size fits all: there will be a need to add new data sources or to change what’s seen in a dashboard. You should be able to operationalize your own innovation. Your organization undoubtedly has data science teams creating valuable machine learning algorithms, but they may lack the ability to operationalize those insights onto a platform that works alongside other analytical insights.
  3. Plug into the roadmap of your enterprise analytics solution so you understand what’s coming next and how it will meet your needs, which enables you to keep your enterprise analytics solution relevant within your organization’s four walls.

In addition to taking these three important steps to enterprise analytics success, it’s crucial everyone from the organization—from everyday users to the C suite—is reading from the same chapters in the same book. That’s the only way to tell a cohesive, understandable and relevant story.

Kristin Weir is Senior Vice President of Product at MedeAnalytics.