What is Data Literacy and Why it is Important?

Data literacy is the ability to read, work with, analyze and communicate with data to predict future outcomes and achieve positive results.

Healthcare providers manage an average of 8.41 petabytes of data annually—that's 8,410 terabytes. And that number isn't going down anytime soon. Between 2016 and 2018, healthcare and life sciences data skyrocketed by 878%! Now more than ever, data literacy in the healthcare industry matters.

Data Literacy Definition

Data literacy may seem like a daunting term, but it’s actually just a technical description of how people read and understand information. Data is collected over time to see patterns. The correlations within that data can be used to predict future outcomes and achieve positive results. Having the ability to analyze data correctly can help health care facilities draw conclusions that can lead to more efficient practices.


Data Literacy Skills Lead to Healthcare Solutions

Comprehending data is a skill that, like most things, can be learned, practiced, and mastered. Understanding data can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure when implementing new policies, procedures, or marketing campaigns.

Data is used widely for many purposes, and for that reason, it’s imperative that top hospital executives are able to make sense of any valuable information they receive.

Misinterpreting or failing to realize the importance of data is like letting precious jewels slip through your fingers. Increasingly, health care facilities are pouring major resources into gathering data. Being able to read and communicate effectively can help hospitals to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.

Many hospital executives use data to analyze patterns about:

  • Marketing
  • Patient Information and Care
  • Employees
  • Business Practices and Quality Improvement
  • Risk Assessment

The uses and implementations of data analytics are endless. Finding intelligent and forward-thinking ways to utilize information is the key to success, and it all starts with data literacy. Everyone starts somewhere, including seasoned executives, which is why it's crucial to invest in getting proper data education.


Literacy Training

Excellence in patient care and associated services depends on high-quality data. Healthcare data management must also be accurate and contain no duplications or errors. Review incoming data thoroughly to ensure accuracy and prevent duplicate records.

Finally, you must keep the data consistent. Finding critical records quickly can mean saving lives. Format incoming information according to a logical system, making every piece of data correlate with the correct database field.

Obstacles to achieving proper data literacy can be overcome with proper training. Hospital employees and executives often need further assistance and education on how to use data tools properly.

Learning about how to create and read reports is a basic data skill that is imperative to that process. Reports can be customized to include information about finances, operations, and other important topics.

Data analysis techniques are another area where many employees require training. Reports can often be complicated and heavy with numbers and jargon, which dilutes the reader’s ability to zone into target information. Step one of reading any report is understanding what each data set means. With a proper education in terminology and report layout, it can become easier to decipher the numbers.

Dashboard design is another helpful tactic to allow users to see the information they need quickly and easily.

Dashboards can often be customized to show the information most relevant for an organization. It assists data leaders within the company to spot opportunities quickly and identify problems before they become urgent. The best practices for dashboard use can be learned through training sessions online or in person.

Get Started With Data Literacy Training

At Syntrix Consulting Group, we offer customized curriculum to help healthcare organizations meet their goals. On-site or virtual learning is available. Cultivate competency and professionalism with data literacy training to yield positive results fast. Contact us at (877) 442-7361 to speak to a qualified representative today.


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