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By: Stephen O'Connor

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October 26th, 2015

How to Create a Strategy Behind your EHR Analytics

Electronic Health Records

EHR analyticsSeveral years ago the key theme in conversations among medical organization executives was how much to invest in health information technology.

Today, healthcare leaders are asking why the investment failed to transform their practice into a lean, efficient, patient-centric ecosystem. Aligning analytics strategy with healthcare organizations is instrumental to answering that question.

Bridging the Gap Between Practice Culture and EHR Capabilities

There are many strong technology solutions offering data management tools and presentation aids that enable analytics. However, investing heavily in staff training, data storage and impressive dashboards will not help physicians develop self-pay patient policies or gain a deeper understanding of their population sub-groups. Analytics is not just a numbers game.

The numbers demonstrate organizational culture and competency. Developing an analytics strategy behind the EHR must include nurturing an organizational culture focused on adopting new policies and processes that advance quality healthcare delivery.

Aligning Analytic Strategy with Organizational Competency

There is a bi-directional flow in the realm of analytics. Data influences performance and performance impacts data. Many healthcare providers have admitted they do not really understand what “analytics” is, let alone how to nurture it or manage the responsive nature. Organizational proficiency plays a vital role in developing responsive data.

Small to mid-size practices may benefit from examining recruiting, onboarding and training policies to ensure staff members have the skills and resources necessary to successfully fulfill their duties. Along the same vein, establishing a data governance policy that clearly outlines report generation protocol and distribution should demonstrate strategic alignment with organizational goals and objectives, and keep IT teams from being overwhelmed with voluminous requests for reports.

Timing Organizational Change

Change does not happen instantly. Introducing new reports into traditional workflow patterns can be stressful and may initially hinder productivity and performance. Recognizing that trust in data must be earned, leaders who develop a strong, well-developed process for profiling clinical, operational and business challenges can expect better results when new reports are rolled out.

Profiling issues may include consulting with experts to validate the findings, rolling out a trial test before implementing change and communicating results to key partners and staff within the practice. 

Conclusion:

An analytics strategy does not function in isolation, rather it complements and supports financial, clinical and operational strategies. Strategic planning must align with executive support and nurture a thriving, competent culture focused on identifying and understanding the needs of the practice or clinic. Once organizational needs are clearly defined, reporting needs, technical resources and key performance indicators (KPI) can be better defined and managed.

The bi-directional nature of analytics allows medical enterprises to respond to the data and to make sure that data is responsive tot he organization. Leveraging data to streamline workflow and improve patient outcomes is a process, and not a single event.

Steps for Creating A Strategy Behind EHR Analytics

  • Identify key drivers and organizational needs
  • Ensure leadership support
  • Nurture a Competent Workforce
  • Develop a Data Governance Policy
  • Define reporting needs, technical resource and KPI
  • Rollout New Reports Incrementally
  • Review performance and update strategy periodically to adopt to practice

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About Stephen O'Connor

As a Director of Digital Marketing at Advanced Data Systems Corporation, Stephen spends his day's planning, writing, & designing resources for the modern healthcare professional. He has a strong affinity for snow crab legs, the ocean, and Rutgers Football.

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