The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.

 

Big Data and Analytics: Getting Past the Hype to Real Value

By Truven Staff
Anita Nair-Hartman imageAs a health plan in today’s complex and challenging environment, it’s easy to get your head turned by promises of Big Data and new analytic techniques. After all, you’re facing an immediate need for information and analyses to successfully manage your business. Big Data must be the answer, right?

 The best answer is “maybe.” The new data sources and analytic techniques just might hold the answers you’ve been looking for. Then again, the answers you need might have been right in your backyard all along. The question is, How do you get past the “Big Data hype” to find the sound data sources and smart analytic methods that will help you meet your goals?

The bottom line is that unless you know how these new tools and techniques can help you make better decisions, they won’t be useful to you. Before you jump to the “next big thing,” be sure you’ve fully explored the value in the data you already have.

Anne Fisher image“Next Generation” healthcare analytics can help you make better decisions — but only if the new tools, techniques, and science are combined with good data and a deep understanding of the business environment. Properly leveraged, the most promising analytics will help you respond to today’s rapidly changing business environment and enable you to thrive under reform, control costs, engage your consumers, and make the best or your new provider relationships. Intelligent application is what matters.

Read our latest insights brief, Next Generation Analytics: Getting Past the Hype and Finding Real Value, for more details. Or email us to find out how we can help you meet your business challenges with smart data and analytics.

Anita Nair-Hartman, Vice President of Market Planning and Strategy
Anne Fischer, Director of Healthcare Analytics

Big Data and Analytics: Getting Past the Hype to Real Value

By Truven Staff
Anita Nair-Hartman imageAs a health plan in today’s complex and challenging environment, it’s easy to get your head turned by promises of Big Data and new analytic techniques. After all, you’re facing an immediate need for information and analyses to successfully manage your business. Big Data must be the answer, right?

 The best answer is “maybe.” The new data sources and analytic techniques just might hold the answers you’ve been looking for. Then again, the answers you need might have been right in your backyard all along. The question is, How do you get past the “Big Data hype” to find the sound data sources and smart analytic methods that will help you meet your goals?

The bottom line is that unless you know how these new tools and techniques can help you make better decisions, they won’t be useful to you. Before you jump to the “next big thing,” be sure you’ve fully explored the value in the data you already have.

Anne Fisher image“Next Generation” healthcare analytics can help you make better decisions — but only if the new tools, techniques, and science are combined with good data and a deep understanding of the business environment. Properly leveraged, the most promising analytics will help you respond to today’s rapidly changing business environment and enable you to thrive under reform, control costs, engage your consumers, and make the best or your new provider relationships. Intelligent application is what matters.

Read our latest insights brief, Next Generation Analytics: Getting Past the Hype and Finding Real Value, for more details. Or email us to find out how we can help you meet your business challenges with smart data and analytics.

Anita Nair-Hartman, Vice President of Market Planning and Strategy
Anne Fischer, Director of Healthcare Analytics

Population Health Analytics: The Devil Is Truly In the Details

By Truven Staff
Grant Hoffman image“Population Health” is an oft-discussed topic, but the definition is variable depending on the vantage point of the presenter. Likewise, “Population Health Analytics” attempts to measure and improve an array of risk-bearing, clinically-integrated activities, ranging from aggregate risk analysis to predictive interventions at the point of the care.

Regardless of your particular turf, some common challenges lurk behind the application of analytics to these business challenges. The roadblocks stem from the fundamental fact that the data sources on which you depend for decision-making were not captured with cross-encounter analytics in mind. Source IT systems such as EMRs, billing systems, and electronic prescribing solutions were constructed to accomplish transactional goals for siloed provider organizations, not to support improved outcomes and cost control across the patient care continuum.

 We’ve identified three areas of focus to help you avoid pitfalls: 
  • Anticipate information-sharing challenges: Technical integration of data isn’t the hard part. The tough stuff is setting the trust conditions for authentic multi-stakeholder data sharing and governance.
  • Navigate the context of data creation: Operational processes obscure analytic classification of data, terminology standards are variable, and information arrives at different periodicities. Amidst this noise, reliable prediction, reporting, and alerting all require an “analytically-aware” implementation of data streams and measures.
  • Start with analytics you can take action on: Massive projects get everyone excited, but a moon launch isn’t necessarily your first step. Work backwards from where you have operational capacity to make improvements (basic quality measures across the continuum of care? risk and disease prevalence? alerting and interventions?) and focus your attention on a set of trusted measures to get you there.
Watch our four-part video series on population health analytics.

Two Minutes on Population Health Analytics
Two Minutes on The Importance of Trust in the Data
Two Minutes on Data Necessary for Population Health Analytics
Two Minutes on the Barriers to Integrating Population Health Data


Grant Hoffman
VP, Clinical Integration

Enhancing Analytical Capability

By Truven Staff
Robert Sutter imageWith the advent of electronic health records healthcare providers are in the midst of an unprecedented digital revolution - They are becoming awash with data. The question they face is: How to harness all of this data in a manner that facilitates enhancing organizational performance?

The first step to answering this question is to perform an organizational assessment to understand the current state of the organization's analytical capabilities relative to the five stages depicted in Table 1. With that accomplished, the organization can plot a course to advance to the successively higher stages of analytical competency - which will facilitate achieving higher levels of organizational performance.

Table 1


Stage
Analytical Objective
Analytical Process
Skills
Sponsorship
Culture
1:Analytically Impaired
None established
Non-existent
Absent
Absent
Adverse to fact based decision making
2: Localized Analytics
Sparse, not integrated or aligned
Narrow focus, fragmented
Isolated, minimal
Isolated, not uniform
Craves for more and better data
3. Analytical Aspirations
Organizational performance metrics established
Fragmented, not aligned
Analysts to produce dashboards
Early stage of awareness of the advantages of analytics
Senior management support for fact-based decision making
4: Analytical Company
Develop an integrated analytics program
Some integrated, aligned analytics
Analysts with moderate skills but not aligned
Generalized senior management support
Change management underway to transform into fact-based culture
5. Analytical Competitor
Well developed and focused
Fully integrated, aligned analytics
Advanced: predictive modeling, data mining
Genuinely committed
Fact-based decision making is the way business is conducted


In order to be successful at becoming an analytical competitor an organization must have a senior management team that is genuinely committed to fact-based decision making. In addition, a well defined strategy is required to provide direction on the goals to be accomplished, the analytic questions to be answered and how to allocate analytical resources.

Robert Sutter, RN MBA MHA
Consultant


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