9 Strategies for Leveraging Big Data in the Healthcare Industry

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iHT2 report identifies strategies for leveraging big data in the healthcare industry necessary to generate real insights that can benefit the health system.  

The health care industry can potentially realize $300 billion in annual value by leveraging big data according to a 2011 McKinsey report. To successfully achieve this value, the healthcare industry must identify and establish best practices to manage big data since healthcare data is rarely standardized.

iHT2  (The Institute for Health Technology Transformation) today released their new report, Transforming Health Care through Big Data Strategies for leveraging big data in the health care industry” to serve as a guide for executives from hospitals, health systems, and other provider organizations to identify and understand models for innovative uses of data. Areas of focus include the storage, processing, analysis, and management of data to utilize data for improved, evidence-based decisions.

The report features contributions from leaders in provider, health system, health information technology, academic, and health policy domains that include:

  • · Mike Cottle, CIO, Newton Medical Center
  • · Shadaab Kanwal, Executive Director Research & Quality, Kaiser Permanente
  • · Marty Kohn, MS, MD, FACEP, FACPE, Chief Medical Scientist, Care Delivery Systems, IBM Research
  • · Trevor Strome, MSc, PMP, Analytics Lead, WRHA Emergency Program
  • · Neil Treister, MD, Medical Informatics Officer, Sharp Community Group
  • · Waco Hoover, CEO, Institute for Health Technology Transformation

Given the huge potential for big data applications in the future, the report identifies the following 9 strategies for healthcare organizations venturing into the realm of big data:

1.  Implement a data governance framework- A carefully structured framework for enterprise-wide data governance is arguably the first and most critical priority to ensure the success of any effort to leverage big data for health care delivery.

2.  Engagement providers- Engaging providers is critical to changing the culture of resistance to new approaches to data collection and analysis.

3.  Foster competition and transparency- Health care organizations are attaching monetary incentives to measuring and looking at data; displaying peer and colleague data with respect to patient satisfaction and quality metrics; and using dashboards, all in an effort to leverage competition and improve performance among clinicians.

4.  Bake analytics into training- More institutions are recognizing that physicians and nurses both need training in analytics to understand how big data tools add value to overall health care performance.

5.  Provide for flexibility in information transference- There is a growing recognition that work and learning styles vary among clinicians; facilities are demonstrating a growing willingness to deliver data in multiple ways based on clinician preference and style.

6.  When possible, choose in-house solutions over vendor-generated solutions- At times the inflexibility of some vendor-generated solutions can be a major obstacle to leveraging big data technology in a given organization.

7.  Create simple, understandable tools such as dashboards for clinicians on the front lines to visualize incoming data- Organizations should strive to update processes and develop capabilities to enable tool use, and focus on real- or near-real time clinical decision support.

8. Don’t Scale up, Scale out- Some organizations may be prone to lean toward replacing their older servers with bigger and more powerful servers.

9. Close the Quality Loop- Achieving health care transformation requires dramatic and sustainable changes to the structure and processes of health care.

Other highlights of the report include:

  • Big data benefits to healthcare
  • Examples of early successes
  • Future applications: individual and population health management
  • Big data challenges

The report is available for download at https://iHT2BigData2013.questionpro.com