The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift in data analytics. Teams who once coped with fragmented, delayed reports can no longer get by with this approach; they need an ecosystem that delivers real-time, data-driven, prescriptive insights that help them respond and adapt to a tremendously dynamic (maybe volatile) environment.
For example, there’s a greater need for healthcare organizations to be able to predict changes to their patient population – specifically surges in COVID-19 cases. The data is there to help them do that, but they have to be able to aggregate information from multiple sources like their own internal systems, claims data, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and so on. More importantly, though, they have to be able to visualize what that information means—and they need to be able to provide those insights to a broad range of constituents. Healthcare providers certainly, but exectives, documentation specialists, health information management teams, finance and revenue cycle leaders, credentialing staff, and quality teams all depend on on up-to-date insights and information.
At Carilion Clinic, a team led by Dr. Stephen Morgan has maximized the effectiveness of their advanced analytics program, which was in place before COVID-19, but came into focus through this pandemic. Before COVID, the teams were having conversations about how they could move in a different direction, to act with the future in mind. Thus, they built an informatics and analytics ecosystem that brought together teams from telemedicine, business intelligence, research, and informatics, all guided by a strong approach to governance and what Dr. Morgan calls “a single source of truth.”
That framework and foundation meant that Carilion Clinic was in an excellent position to pivot when the pandemic emerged, including tacking and defining a broad range of new terminology. From the term “covid” itself to PPE, reopening, PUI, shelter in place and so many others, the governance structure already in place allowed the Carilion Clinic analytics team to integrate new models. Still, Dr. Morgan admits there was a learning curve to overcome.
Ultimately, Carilion Clinic points to a series of key lessons learned that all healthcare organizations would benefit from:
- One priority allows for rapid organizational change
- Virtual care is becoming part of the care delivery process – you have to be able to account for it
- Recognize the need for data-driven decisions and how analytics must be aligned with business priorities
- A single source of truth reduces rework and is more efficient for all involved
- Collaboration is key; you must break down the cylinders of excellence to get everyone working toward that one priority
- Build agility into your data programs, and be comfortable with data imperfections
- Communicate, communicate, communicate
- Invest in your data analytics infrastructure, which helps improve reaction time
We know that the work we do helps our clients to understand the data that lies at the foundation of their business. Ultimately, they achieve better outcomes because we all collaborate and work toward a higher goal, hence all data is good, but better when it’s understood.