Business Intelligence for Healthcare Initiatives

Business Intelligence alludes to the apparatuses and applications used to get to and break down an association's information to improve execution.

The term “business intelligence” refers to the tools and applications used to access and analyze your organization’s data for the purpose of improving performance and decision making.

Given the vast amount of data accrued by healthcare organizations, it’s no wonder that maintaining effective business intelligence systems is a challenge that many in the healthcare industry face.

If an organization doesn’t have seamless access to its data, this can cause problems for its strategic initiatives and company goals. After all, unless an initiative is backed by concrete data, it will be difficult to generate buy-in from the necessary parties.

Why Business Intelligence is Crucial to Creating Initiatives That Generate Buy-In

Healthcare organizations are constantly being asked to create or approve a wide variety of strategic initiatives. These include requests for tech upgrades, meaningful use issues, MACRA, and many other needs.

If you want to forward an initiative that will get approved, then you need several things in place:

  1. A roadmap
  2. Business intelligence systems
  3. A high-value use case

If you want your initiative to succeed, then you need a roadmap — a plan that is backed up by analytics (thanks to your business intelligence system) and that lays out incentives to generate buy-in. While financial incentives typically earn the C-suite buy-in, you also need to provide examples of tangible benefits for providers and patients.

Your plan also needs actionable steps, attainable goals, and value-based incentives. All of these are based on being able to properly analyze your organization’s data and this, in turn, hinges on the efficiency of your business intelligence systems.

One of the best ways to ensure the success of your initiative is by forwarding an initiative that addresses a high-value use case.

How to Identify and Measure High-Value Use Cases

High-value use cases are situations throughout your company where initiating a strategic, data-backed change should produce the greatest results.

But how do you measure value? And how do you know which cases are likely to produce better results?

The best way to identify the value of different cases is by using key performance indicators (KPIs). What’s a KPI? According to the Oxford Dictionary, a KPI is “A quantifiable measure used to evaluate the success of an organization, employee, etc. in meeting objectives for performance.”

You can use KPIs to measure the performance of different cases throughout your organization. This will help you see where shortfalls are occurring and where strategic upgrades or changes should be most useful.

KPIs can also be used later on to measure the impact changes have had on the performance of different cases.

The following list of cases are examples of possible cases in your health organization that could be monitored for KPI progress:

Avoidable readmissions

Reducing avoidable readmissions is an objective that every C-suite executive will buy-into. Fewer avoidable readmissions mean greater efficiency in your organization, better health outcomes, enhanced patient safety, and fewer quality penalties.

If your organization isn’t hitting its KPI goals for avoidable readmissions, then it may be time to consider upgrading your business intelligence systems in this case.

Patient satisfaction

Another easy buy-in for the C-suite is improving patient satisfaction scores. A high satisfaction score means that your providers are giving patients the empathy, communication, respect, and transparency they are looking for. High satisfaction scores promote patient loyalty and elevate an organization’s reputation in the region.

KPIs tracking insurance verification rates, patient registration times, wait times, and other service pre-authorization elements will give you a strong indication of the patient experience and whether or not they feel that they are being processed efficiently and with adequate communication.

Patient flow and utilization

For many healthcare providers, a common problem that inhibits KPI performance is patient scheduling.

When patients cancel or reschedule appointments it can cause delays and other issues, which is why most providers put heavy emphasis on scheduling appointments during times of the day that patients are less likely to cancel during. But, excessive scheduling during peak hours means that wait times will get longer and your providers will be exhausted from all the back-to-back appointments.

Making use of a business intelligence system could help your organization identify negative staffing patterns and improve scheduling — allocating your providers’ hours appropriately to ensure that peak patient scheduling times are met with the proper human resources.

Staffing shortages

In 2016, a survey done by Premier found that a staggering 40% of organizations in the healthcare industry are struggling to hit employment goals. The result of this is that 51% of survey respondents expressed a need for mid-level providers and 72% admitted to an inadequate number of primary care providers.

Staffing cases may be an area in your healthcare company that deserves business intelligence investment. Your HR division needs the tools necessary to appropriately address staffing concerns and to ensure your organization has the necessary human resources to compete in today’s consumer-driven healthcare climate.

Do You Have Access to Your Health Organization’s Existing Big Data Assets

While the cases mentioned in the previous section could possibly be analyzed using manual KPI tracking, the sheer volume of data that needs to be processed for most modern healthcare intelligence initiatives requires the use of business intelligence tools that can process big data.

In plain English, “big data” refers to a volume of unstructured and structured data that is so large it requires advanced software and databases to process it efficiently.

Many healthcare organizations lack the in-house analytics professionals required to back data-driven initiatives. Not having access to big-data analytics can cause problems when it comes to putting together a healthcare initiative that earns the buy-in of the C-suite, providers, and patients.

Would answering the following questions prove difficult for your organization?

  • What KPIs will we use to measure success in a specific use case? Do I know the data that will be used for the denominator and numerator for that KPI?
  • Is the data accessible? Is it data siloed in one division, or shared between departments?
  • Is the data in a format that can be easily manipulated?
  • Do we have in-house professionals who can produce meaningful analytics with this data? Beyond recognizing that a thing is happening, will we be able to use our analytics to pinpoint why an issue is occurring in a use case?

If your organization lacks the in-house resources to answer these kinds of questions, then it is time for you to consider investing in a big data business intelligence platform.

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