How a hospital decides to adopt comprehensive data analytics technology and selects leaders of the project goes a long way toward prospects for success.

The decision process starts with selecting the right people to lead the initiative because they recognize the value of analytics and are willing to work in multi-disciplinary teams to establish critical infrastructure, said Deborah Schramko, chief medical staff development officer at 6-hospital Mercy Health Partners, Northern Region, in Toledo, Ohio. She spoke at Health Data Management’s Healthcare Analytics Symposium in Chicago.

Preparing medical staff leadership to promote change is a crucial early step. It is important to have these leaders on board early, as they will be assessing the tool that will measure their performance. A provider organization cannot get far into an analytics program if physicians don’t believe the data is credible, such as a physician contesting a finding by asking, “I didn’t even see that patient, why is she in my patient pool?”

Getting medical leaders on board also gives them skin in the game, which is necessary for them to build templates, which leads to ownership of the project.

Schramko also advised getting senior leadership and board members behind the data strategy. Start by setting the strategy and then considering how to let the data support the strategy, rather than implementing technology and then trying to make the tech support a strategy under development. She suggested using the train-the-trainer format to create physician champions and other superusers, and defining their roles so it is clear what is expected of them. “Now that they are trained, what is their responsibility to use that knowledge, or will they sit in a room and churn out reports?”

An organization should train other users in a phased approach, according to Schramko, with the level of training based on their role. There are those who need a high level of training on analytics tools as they will be comprehensively used as part of the job. But there are many others who need to be familiar enough with the tools to get required information in three clicks, which demonstrates the value of the tools to those requesting the information.

In particular, medical staff office managers and other selected personnel in the office can be your biggest advocates for the analytics program, Schramko notes. They are close to the doctors, are the ones who can give needed information in three clicks, and thus demonstrate the value. Other advocates, once they understand the value, will include quality, finance, billing and health information management leaders.


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