In the healthcare industry today, there's a vague understanding that business intelligence (BI) represents a path to a brighter future. Business leaders have heard the buzz that adopting BI can help them make improvements both internally (i.e., creating a more efficient and profitable business) and externally (making the future brighter for patients everywhere).
There's a difference between a vague understanding of BI and a detailed knowledge of the strategies required.
This is certainly tantalising. BI has big potential, and many executives are eager to tap into it. The problem is there's a vast disparity between a vague understanding of BI and a detailed knowledge of the specific strategies required. Gathering data, analysing it and turning it into actionable truths about the future of your business is difficult. No company, no matter how smart and naturally gifted its personnel, can simply dive right in.
Preparing for BI is a multi-step process. It requires sizing up the challenges in front of you and deliberately putting together an attack plan for overcoming them.
What are the challenges in healthcare?
For those who are deeply invested in healthcare consulting, it's clear that solving all the industry's problems overnight using analytics will not be easy. Part of the problem is that the challenges faced in the industry today are numerous, and they're diverse. According to Deloitte's 2016 "Global Health Care Outlook" report, they include:
- Financial issues: Just about everything, ranging from medical specialists' man-hours to prescription drugs, is suboptimally priced, which puts an enormous strain on consumers. How can the financial landscape be made fairer for everyone?
- Tightening up operations: Eliminating waste is crucial. Whether it's time, talent or raw materials, currently a lot of key resources are being squandered by inefficient work processes. It's time to tighten up.
- Changing demographics: The population is quickly aging, and that means there are new chronic health conditions that need to be addressed in greater detail.
- The regulatory landscape: Government agencies are guarding against numerous disaster scenarios including product safety mishaps, cybersecurity breaches and cases of fraud and abuse. Can analytics help address them?
- Future innovation: The hope is that medicine in the future will be stronger, as digitally connected health and other innovations take shape. Analytics may be able to drive this movement forward.
Overall, the goal in healthcare is the same as it's ever been – to continue improving care while keeping costs to a minimum all the while. The hope is that data can accelerate this.
Assessing your organisation's readiness
Is your organisation fully prepared to deploy business intelligence solutions and get to work on driving improvement through data? It very well might be, but according to research from A.T. Kearney, it's best to ask yourself a few questions first and ensure you have the answers ready.
For example: What sorts of analytics projects have proven most successful in the past, either for your business or others like it? Have you benefited from data mining, predictive modeling or database analytics, for example? How can you improve upon past data initiatives you've seen in the field and perform yours more efficiently? Answering this requires taking an honest look at your staff, assessing what tech skills they have and admitting which ones they need to shore up.
Getting your BI plans up and running
Once you've committed to using enterprise solutions for healthcare BI, it's time to lay the foundation that will ensure your projects get off the ground smoothly. To get started with this, Information Age advises building your framework around a clear vision. What are the specific goals you're hoping to accomplish with data? What milestones are you looking to hit that will verify you've succeeded?
BI projects tend to perform the best when goals and milestones come from the very top.
BI projects tend to perform the best when these goals and milestones come from the very top. If you have support from your company's upper-level management to dive into BI, that will make it easier to secure the funding, manpower and other resources you need to make your projects successful. The hope, then, is that management's commitment to the project will trickle down, and eventually all stakeholders will be engaged and motivated.
Need a little help with the details?
Getting into BI in the healthcare sector is a complicated process, especially if many members of your staff are tackling a project like this for the first time. It's not uncommon to reach out for a little bit of help with understanding the finer points involved. Fortunately, we offer this sort of help at AtoBI. What you get from us is a straightforward approach to solution consulting built around understanding your specific problems and tackling them.
When your company starts using BI solutions, you're making a big investment. We can help you maximise it. Every dollar you spend, you want to pay for itself and then some. With our guidance, you can definitely make that happen.