Data gathering is the easy part. There is often so much that it can become overwhelming. That’s why data mining in the healthcare industry must be strategic. The key to being able to use the reams of data now available in the actual care of the patient is to have the data contextualized into “actionable information” in a real-time manner. This enables meaningful and relevant insights to be applied to the standards of care for the individual and for populations. Here are a few tips on how to start turning data in action.
Choose a goal
Having a clear end goal for your data helps to filter out the white noise and choose a focus that will serve your providers and patients. Do you want to improve patient intake processes? What about patient feedback in a particular department? By determining a thesis of sorts for what kind of information you want to gain from your data mining, you will be able to more efficiently analyze the information you receive.
Involve the right people
A common mistake providers make in obtaining data in any organization is getting people to seek and record it. Medical professionals are already too busy, and collecting data, if not easy, can be seen as an additional burden. Shifting that focus to view data as a valuable resource from which to learn best practices and improve patient care is key. Only then will these professionals be on board to address inefficiencies and work more effectively in the future.
Make decisions based on that data
Sounds simple, right? All the data in the world is useless if no action is taken. Innovative data mining systems become too costly if the data is not used effectively. Just as you must include providers and personnel in the data gathering process, it is critical that you involve these providers in the decision-making process. Ultimately, they are the ones implementing changes and treating patients.
Here, too, is where your initial goal becomes important. Remind your team why you were collecting what data. Was the goal to improve efficiencies with patient intake? What does the patient feedback reveal about the process from their point of view? Take action based on that data to make effectual changes.
Don’t stop at taking action. Analyze the results of the actions and provide metrics to your providers and employees. Adjust your mining and implementation strategies over time to find more ways to effectively use data. Monitoring data reinforces accountability, which makes for more positive patient feedback. Consistently incorporating patient data into your providers’ decision making will help maintain your patients’ health, ensure a positive overall experience, and ultimately increase positive word-of-mouth.
Senscio Systems develops extraordinary technologies that transform data into insights for timely and effective decision making, and takes action to use this data for better patient outcomes with less burden on medical professionals. Learn about our approach.
By Mike Charley, Chief Growth Officer