Learn to Put Your Data to Work

Put Your Data to Work

Informatica recently released the findings of a survey (entitled “Data is Holding You Back from Analytics Success”) in which respondents revealed that 85% of are effective at putting financial data to use to inform decision making.  However, it also discovered that many are less confident about putting data to use to inform patient engagement initiatives that require access to external data and big data, which they note to be more challenging.

The idea is that data unto itself does not carry that much value.  For example, I’ve been gathering data with my fitbit for over 90 days.  A use of that data could be to looking at patterns that might indicate I’m more likely to have heart attack.  However, this can only be determined if we compare my data with external historical patient data that exists in a large analytical database (big data).

The external data provides the known patterns that lead to known outcomes.  Thus, when compared with my data, predictive analytics can occur.  In other words, we can use data integration as a way to mash up and analyze the data so it has more meaning and value.  In this case, perhaps having me avoid a future heart attack.

Inter-organizational transformational business processes require information sharing between data sources, and yet, according to the Informatica Survey, over 65% of respondents say data integration and data quality are significantly challenging.  Thus, healthcare providers collect data, but many have yet to integrate these data silos to realize its full potential.

Indeed, the International Institute of Analytics, offered a view of the healthcare analytics maturity by looking at more than 20 healthcare provider organizations.  The study validated the fact that, while healthcare providers are indeed gathering the EMR data, they are not acting upon the data in meaningful ways.

The core problem is a lack of understanding of the value that this data can bring.  Or, perhaps the lack of a budget for the right technology.  Much as my Fitbit could help me prevent a future heart attack by tracking my activity data, healthcare providers can use their data to become more proactive around health issues.

Better utilization of this data will reduce costs by leveraging predictive analytics to take more preventative measures.  For instance, automatically culling through the family tree of a patient to determine risks for cancer, heart disease, etc., and automatically scheduling specific kinds of tests that are not normally given unless the patient is symptomatic.

Of course, putting your data to work is not free.  It’s going to take some level of effort to create strategies, and acquire and deploy data integration technology.  However, the benefits are easy to define, thus the business case is easy to create as well.

For myself, I’ll keep gathering data.  Hopefully it will have some use, someday.