by David Burkhart, Will Bryant

The Challenge

Big data and data analytics have the power to significantly improve healthcare quality and reduce costs. But for most providers, the exponential growth of data has far outpaced the ability to use it effectively. A large southwest healthcare system faced multiple barriers in accessing, analyzing, and acting on its wealth of data: Existing data processing capabilities limited the effectiveness of reporting tools. Patient ambulatory, acute, and home health information was siloed. Business intelligence (BI) reporting required a high level of continual IT involvement. And skilled analytical expertise was fragmented across a decentralized organization. Our client engaged Point B to help develop a big data vision and roadmap. The goal: to create a more data-savvy environment that would give clinicians, staff, managers, analysts and administrators the ability to make timely, informed decisions across the full continuum of care—while also measuring population health performance.

Creating a Future-State Vision

Point B helped our client develop a strategic data and analytics vision together with a five-year plan and roadmap to achieve it.

Early on, it was critically important to help the IT sponsor win the attention and support of business and clinical executives by connecting the initiative’s value to their top priorities. We included them as key stakeholders as we assessed current data practices and anticipated future needs. From there, we identified capability gaps and defined a future-state vision for supporting the organization’s data and analytic needs going forward. The future state defines the new information architecture, data platforms, and data-warehousing framework along with a new operational model and a vision for how actionable analytics really works.

Point B’s leadership and expertise encouraged organization-wide buy-in. This enabled our client to avoid a common barrier to big data initiatives: getting stuck in the vision stage. This approach enabled us to introduce big data as more than a technology: It’s also the cultural change that enables people to rapidly act on data-driven decisions, respond to new information and deliver through new methods of consumption.

Actionable, Self-Service Data for All

Our client now has a future-state vision that will eliminate silos, with a self-service delivery model that empowers decision makers across its care network. Patients, providers, and administrators will have access to actionable information via dashboards and reports that draw on comprehensive patient health records. Populations and patient-level analytics will be accessible in useful formats, with the flexibility to meet evolving clinical, business, and regulatory needs.

Transformation in the Making

With approval of the strategic vision and a proof-of-concept pilot of the big data platform underway, the five-year implementation plan and roadmap are providing momentum for the transformation ahead.