How to extract real value from business intelligence in healthcare

The world of healthcare information technology is fraught with inefficiencies that need fixing. Patients everywhere are looking to receive care that's affordable and attentive to their needs; care providers are hoping they can deliver that service in a way that's reasonably efficient. On both sides, there's still plenty of room for improvement.

Healthcare providers have many years of historical data on file about their patients and their treatment histories.

The hope is that business intelligence (BI) and big data analytics can help make that improvement happen. Healthcare providers have many years of historical data on file about their patients and their treatment histories – the challenge is to analyse that information, find revealing trends and use that newfound knowledge to shape future strategies.

At many healthcare organisations, however, this is easier said than done. It requires careful preparation and attention to detail.

Analytics can have an impact for everyone

In many industries today, analytics are simply seen as a means for corporations to make more money. In healthcare, however, the beauty is that data can be mutually beneficial, helping to carve out a brighter future for everyone involved. According to the office of the NSW Minister for Health, numerous parties are reaping the benefits of data analysis in healthcare consulting:

  • Doctors and nurses are able to use analytics to continually improve their practices. By looking at patient histories and examining which treatment strategies have worked best traditionally, they can optimise their care.
  • Healthcare providers and insurance companies can improve their resourcing, allocating their limited funding and manpower in the optimal ways to deliver treatment to the most patients possible.
  • Consumers can make better choices about their own health, including pursuing the right treatments and purchasing prescription drugs that have proven to help others with conditions like theirs.

Really, everyone involved with the health sector benefits when data is added to the mix. There's no reason not to be on board.

Driving systematic organisational change

Having said all of that, there are still no guarantees that implementing new business intelligence solutions will be easy. Not all health organisations are loaded with talented technology specialists, meaning some will be out of their depth when it comes time to deploy a new BI platform.

Getting your staff trained for BI can sometimes be a challenge.Getting your staff trained for BI can sometimes be a challenge.

TechTarget advises that the first step towards making a wholesale change to a new system is getting all the relevant stakeholders involved early. Transparency is key – if you keep conversations about BI implementation contained to a small group of executives, it will be difficult to get the entire staff up to speed later. The more people you keep informed, the faster information will trickle down.

Healthcare organisations should try to decide as early as possible on the specific parameters of the projects they're working on. Exactly what questions are you trying to answer? What data points are you considering? As soon as you have these details figured out, it becomes easier to train project teams to hit the ground running.

Working with consultants who can help

Getting a large healthcare organisation to embrace BI can be a difficult process. The more employees you have, the harder it is to get everyone on the same page, working in lockstep towards using data to solve real business problems.

This is why it might make sense to explore solution consulting as an answer to your implementation and training challenges. If you invest in tailored consultancy services for your staff, it will be far easier to identify your BI needs and design solutions for them. At AtoBI, this is precisely the kind of service we offer. We have a passionate, experienced team with unparalleled expertise in healthcare BI, and we're ready to impart our wisdom to your staff.