Centralizing Analytics – A Best Practice?

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Oct 28, 2014

Centralizing Analytics – A Best Practice?

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Written by Doug Erich

Category: Data & Analytics

Today our topic is analytics and immediately several important questions come to mind. How does a progressive healthcare organization provide analytics and reporting services in the most effective way? Is there an optimal way to support the health system’s dissemination of information? How does an organization manage heavy volumes of data at one time?

Many organizations are struggling with analytics and its recent growth. The continual expansion of healthcare data from electronic health records, medical devices, and now social media is non-stop. Administrative and physician leaders are eager to continually harvest and use data to improve performance and care for patients. Historically, IT had responsibility for implementing systems and subsequent data reporting. However over time, IT resources became scare and therefore operational areas produced their own data experts to report and analyze data.

Several risk points grew out of the organic use of data including repeat metrics generated from different organizational areas, duplicate reporting resources, and little administrative oversight to ensure one consistent use of metrics. While this capability helps the individual business areas, when resources are duplicated across multiple areas, organizations risk different departments producing different results for the same measures.

Case Study Brief
One health system Impact Advisors is currently working with has centralized their analytics and reporting functions across Inpatient, Ambulatory, and Behavioral Health settings. As part of their EHR implementation, Impact Advisors assisted the Analytics leadership in determining what appropriate reporting tools and related training were right for the department; as well as worked with leadership to determine optimal workflow and processes to support reporting requests. The initiative has not been without challenges – disparate business needs, transition to an new enterprise-wide EHR platform, staff reorganizations, and high expectations to reproduce results that were previously done within individual departments are just a few. Additionally, report output from the team is expected to be faster than ever!

However, some immediate benefits have emerged with the new analytics structure. The majority of reporting and analytics publications are produced under one executive leader, creating much greater central control and oversight over functions that once spanned multiple areas.

Another soon-to-be realized benefit is the consolidation of reports. Where two or more systems in the past produced similar metrics such as readmission rates, with the new consolidation of reporting resources, the organization is moving towards determining which systems provide the source of truth on metrics. The duplicative reports from the secondary systems will be sunsetted. Finally, separate reporting teams and leadership are now integrated and cross-trained, resulting in a further consolidation of repeat reporting functions.

Impact Advisors has spoken with other organizations who are contemplating the same decision – will centralized analytics work for us? It’s too early to tell whether centralized analytics is a trend or just a few organizations who are attempting to correct specific situations with fresh organizational changes. Only Father Time will be able to analyze that.