by: Girish Pathria, Vice President of Product and Insights at Ingenious Med
Identifying opportunities for improvement is a key objective for any organization, and it all starts with performance analytics. Every hospital and health system has its own mountain of data that includes everything from number of patients treated to revenue generated. This data is an essential asset that, when analyzed and applied correctly, can give organizations a competitive advantage that will ultimately drive improvements across both their top and bottom lines. The challenge is sifting through the information available to arrive at conclusions and produce actionable insights that guide more strategic decision-making. Actionable insights go beyond the simple presentation of data to identify the behaviors and factors that impact results as well as areas where an organization could improve performance.
Most hospitals are only able to compile informational metrics from the data they compile. Informational metrics can be thought of as numbers, charts and summaries that simply present performance data without any further analysis. Sophisticated organizations take the additional step of analyzing these metrics and comparing them to performance benchmarks (both within local markets and industries as a whole) to develop insights that they implement. Actionable insights help an organization understand what is happening within its operations, why it happened and whether it is likely to happen again in the future.
Here are a few ways actionable insights can impact both top and bottom line improvements:
- Improve services – One of the keys to improving performance is comparing results to the standards of the local competitive market. Most organizations understand the necessity for these comparisons but don’t have the resources to properly conduct them. By setting up data-driven processes that incorporate industry benchmarks, an organization can understand how its services compare to the competition. The actionable insights delivered by this process enable an organization to identify ways to differentiate its services, better meet the needs of its clientele and drive more revenue.
- Optimize processes – Administrative tasks, such as charge capture and coding, often take up more time than they should in a clinician’s workday. A hospital that prioritizes actionable insights will be able to look beyond informational metrics summarizing the time required to complete these tasks. Analysis can pinpoint options for optimizing these processes, whether that’s updating software or adjusting procedures that clinicians conduct to complete these tasks.
- Monitor performance – Data overload is a common problem that faces hospitals looking to monitor their performance. Manually sorting through data would require exhaustive time and resources, but a reliable analytics platform can scrub through metrics to identify performance gaps and guide hospitals towards solutions for improvement.
- Respond quickly to change – Some factors that impact the bottom line are outside a hospital’s sphere of influence, such as impending industry regulatory changes that will cause increased expenses to ensure compliance. Performance monitoring that emphasizes actionable insights can help forecast how these changes will affect operations and identify potential ways to offset the costs that can come with change.
- Improve productivity – In addition to addressing the problems that an organization already recognizes, actionable insights can identify productivity obstacles that previously remained hidden. For example, a hospital that receives actionable insights may realize that it doesn’t have sufficient staffing to meet higher than expected admission rates. This allows leadership to make a strategic, data-driven decision to adjust staffing levels and maximize productivity.
- Work proactively – Any organization would jump at the opportunity to proactively identify performance issues and address them before they become problems that can cripple workflows. By prioritizing the compilation of actionable insights, an organization can hone in on any slight downward trends in performance that could eventually lead to more serious problems.
Most hospitals do not have the in-house resources to compile actionable insights, but there are opportunities to establish partnerships with technology providers such as Ingenious Med that can integrate software analytics expertise with insight into best practices. Once the processes are in place to compile actionable insights, the organization has taken the first step toward facilitating more efficient, data-driven operations.