Embracing consumerism with a savvy data analytics strategy

Consumerism has significant implications for understanding data analytics, including the need to better understand the healthcare customer before they ever become a patient. This emphasis on wellcare versus sickcare represents a massive shift for healthcare organizations that are beginning to look at data from multiple sources to ensure better outcomes. This includes a smooth patient experience from payer/provider selection diagnosis, admission, treatment, and post-treatment touchpoints.

Responsibility for smart data investments

Analytics efforts should integrate with overall corporate strategic imperatives, and also be organized to encourage cross-departmental cooperation at both the leadership and implementation levels.  This means breaking down fiefdoms and sharing technology, data, and lessons learned across the organization. Investments to develop analytics capabilities require dedicated and focused capital effort, especially as they come on the heels of major spending on EHR systems.

Outlining a few of the key challenges

Market conditions are less and less forgiving. Focus and pressure on consumerism to provide a better experience

Leveraging an insights-as-a-service approach

Building a solution—especially one that accommodates an entirely new business focus on consumerism—requires significant time and capital resources. At the speed of change today, even the largest healthcare players are turning to other options. Insights-as-a-service platforms are popping up like Starbucks on the corner in its heyday. But these are often little more than a dashboard and lower-level data scientists identifying data patterns. True Insights-as-a-service is an analytics model that allows the organization to ask the questions, the analytics partner to supply the data align, and the combination of data scientists and business experts to supply the answer to very specific questions. The model can still be costly, but the capital outlay is much lower and the time to insight is much, much shorter.

These key considerations can help to safeguard an organization’s investment in insights-as-a-service:

  1. Clarity and focus on the insight. Articulate clear outcomes. For example, if you want to reduce patient readmissions, then the insights being purchased should focus on that desired outcome versus the number of activities completed. Partners with deep domain experience should be able to help you refine your question set and assist you in finding insights that you may have overlooked.
  2. Partner management and incentives—this is not staff augmentation. Analytics partners should be thought of as just that—partners, not vendors. Look for partners that come to the relationship with tools, licenses to external data sources, pre-build algorithms, and data scientists—you are not contracting just for staff resources—you are buying the answer.
  3. Avoid being held hostage to the relationship. Ensure that knowledge transfer is a contractual element, not to create your own data scientists, but to improve the internal capability to support advanced outcomes-based partnering models.

Integrating it all

No insight has any end value if it can’t be integrated into business practices or meaningfully improve a key patient experience.  The initial undertaking of assessing and mapping out the ability to become a data-driven and a consumer-oriented organization can seem overwhelming. Often it is the process of integrating the insights into the enterprise and workflow that takes even more organizational fortitude and perseverance. After all, it means challenging the status quo; and change—whether perceived as positive or negative—can be difficult for even the most progressive organizations. However, coming to the table with a well-derived, on-strategy approach to consumer analytics is a good place to start.