KLAS reportThis week KLAS released its annual Enterprise Healthcare BI research report. The theme of the 2016 edition of the report is “The Search for Outcomes” as the research focused on how business intelligence (BI) and analytics technologies are being used to improve healthcare quality.

Tweet: A deeper look at the KLAS Enterprise Healthcare BI Report

The report looks specifically at the impact that these technologies, and solutions that embed them, have had on providers’ ability to positively impact patient outcomes and gain deeper insights into healthcare information. Once again, Dimensional Insight fared quite well in the research:

  • We were named the top vendor for overall performance and proactive guidance to customers
  • We received the second highest score for impact on outcomes
  • For 5 of the last 6 years, Dimensional Insight was named the top overall vendor in the KLAS Enterprise Healthcare BI performance report

As much as we at Dimensional Insight are honored by these accolades, much of the real credit goes to our customers, who continue to find increasingly innovative and effective ways to harness Dimensional Insight tools and technology to improve the health of their patient communities.

The report cited several interesting trends including the increasing popularity of prepackaged analytics solutions that are designed to solve specific problems. Surgery Advisor was cited as an example of such a product that is helping service line leaders to manage more effectively. Though perhaps the most compelling observation was summed up in a single sentence in the report’s conclusion:

“. . . healthcare clients tend to achieve greater levels of insights and outcomes based on BI product simplicity and innovation coupled with vendor proactive service and guidance.”

That’s been our experience as well. In our role as a vendor, we consider transferring best practices and guiding our customers toward successful project outcomes to be one of the most important things we do. We also get many of the ideas that inspire our product innovations from working with customers.

Since the KLAS research reflects what provider organizations have been able to accomplish with BI, we thought we would ask our customers for some perspective into the practices they’ve found to be most effective in improving outcomes and gaining deeper insights. Here are three common themes from their responses:

Make data available to the front lines

  • Changes to actual practice largely come from observations of practitioners and front line managers. Giving them better access to information increases opportunities for these important observations.
  • Providing managers with information that allows them to draw their own conclusions helps foster a culture of data-driven decision making.
  • Creating convenient and intuitive linkages between summarized data (ala dashboards) and supporting details helps to bolster users’ confidence in the information – and willingness to trust it when making decisions.

Plan to continually monitor, assess, refine, and improve the system

  • Analytics systems are dynamic in that they are designed to produce new insights – which in turn lead to new requirements and refinements. Plan to iterate “early and often” to incorporate these insights and continually improve the system.
  • Performance improvement is one of the most important applications of analytics. But the techniques from PI disciplines, such as LEAN and Six Sigma, can be also be applied to improve BI applications directly. For example, PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycles provide a very effective approach to evaluating and refining analytics systems.

Begin with a governance perspective

  • Start each analytics initiative by working with stakeholders and user communities to understand their objectives, workflows and challenges rather than trying to build out data infrastructure before the goals of a BI system are identified and prioritized.
  • A concerted focus on governance early in the analytics lifecycle helps to ensure that effort and resources are focused on solving the most important problems. This doesn’t necessarily require a big investment and will likely produce big returns.

Hope this brief summary will stimulate your thinking as you begin, or continue, your healthcare analytics journey!

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