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Data: Quality, Management, Governance

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The Surprising Benefits of Bad Healthcare Data

Bad healthcare data is inevitable. Whether it happens as a result of human input error or an incorrect rule, bad healthcare data will happen. And rather than ignoring it, hiding it, or scrubbing it, health systems need to take a more transparent approach. Bad healthcare data, when approached correctly, has four surprising benefits:

  1. Provides valuable feedback to application users/data consumers.
  2. Inspires an improvement culture.
  3. Creates a Snowball Effect of Success.
  4. Improves Data Accuracy.
It’s not easy to make the shift from fearing bad data to embracing it, but there are several steps systems can take to start creating a data transparency culture:
  1. Empower: encourage data consumers to provide feedback.
  2. Share: Provide a mechanism for sharing feedback.
  3. Act: dedicate time and resources to respond and act.
Health systems prepared and willing to fix bad data will ultimately improve data quality.

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Why Data Governance Requires a Henry Kissinger

The number of partnerships and collaboratives in healthcare continues to climb. One of the many complications of these deals involve integrating and governing data. In fact, 100% of the 2014 Pioneer ACOs reported that they had difficulties with data integration, which had a major and negative impact on performance. Right now, data governance in healthcare is in a transitionary stage not unlike the U.S. in the 1980s. Leaders who manage the data governance in these partnerships must be like a data-savvy version of Henry Kissinger, able to bring the data of loosely affiliated organizations together for the benefit of all.

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Why the Data Steward’s Role Is Critical to Sustained Outcomes Improvement in Healthcare

The data steward is critical to sustained outcomes improvement, yet they tend to be underappreciated members of the healthcare analytics family. Combining the invaluable technical expertise of a data analyst with the vital clinical knowledge of an experienced caregiver, the data steward’s skills and proficiency at both positions brings value beyond measure to any outcomes improvement project. Unfortunately, all too often, their role is non-existent even though potential candidates for the job are located in multiple data sources throughout the organization. Among other responsibilities, the data steward:

  1. Reinforces the global data governance principles.
  2. Helps develop and refine details of local data governance practices.
  3. Is the eyes and ears of the organization with respect to data governance and the governance committee.
  4. Provides direction to peers regarding appropriate data definitions, usage, and access.
  5. Anticipates local consequences of global changes
For innovative health system leaders who have specifically recognized this emerging role, the ROI of data stewards who help achieve improved outcomes is very worthwhile.

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Demystifying Healthcare Data Governance: An Executive Report

Finding the perfect data governance environment is an elusive target. It’s important to govern to the least extent necessary in order to achieve the greatest common good. With the three data governance cultures, authoritarian, tribal, and democratic, the latter is best for a balanced, productive governance strategy. The Triple Aim of data governance is: 1) ensuring data quality, 2) building data literacy, and 3) maximizing data exploitation for the organization’s benefit. The overall strategy should be guided by these three principles under the guidance of the data governance committee. Data governance committees need to be sponsored at the executive board and leadership level, with supporting roles defined for data stewards, data architects, database and systems administrators, and data analysts. Data governance committees need to avoid the most common failure modes: wandering, technical overkill, political infighting, and bureaucratic red tape. Healthcare organizations that are undergoing analytics adoption will also go through six phases of data governance including: 1) establishing the tone for becoming a data-driven organization, 2) providing access to data, 3) establishing data stewards, 4) establishing a data quality program, 5) exploiting data for the benefit of the organization, 6) the strategic acquisition of data to benefit the organization. As U.S. healthcare moves into its next stage of evolution, the organizations that will survive and thrive will be those who most effectively acquire, analyze, and utilize their data to its fullest extent. Such is the mission of data governance.

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Health Data Stewardship and Its Importance in Healthcare Analytics

Health data stewards are keepers of tribal knowledge, and they’re invaluable when a health system launches or expands a healthcare data analytics initiative. Their intimate and expansive knowledge of how data is collected to represent workflow across different systems can save days’ worth of time (and cost) in the development process while improving the accuracy of the analytics output. But getting anything more than a few spare moments of their time can be difficult because health data stewardship isn’t part of their job description. While it may seem difficult to justify at first, organizations need to formalize the role of the health data steward. The investment will ultimately return many times its value as the organization realizes the advantage of the analytics.

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Master Data Management in Healthcare: 3 Approaches

Master data management is key for healthcare organizations looks to integrate different systems. The two types of master data are identity data and reference data. Master data management is the process of linking identity data and reference data. MDM is important for mergers and acquisitions and health information exchanges. The three approaches for MDM are: IT system consolidation, Upstream MDM implementation, and Downstream master data reconciliation in an enterprise data warehouse.

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Healthcare Data Stewardship: The Key to Going from Information Poor to Information Rich

Poor healthcare data stewardship is part of the problem for health systems that feel like they are “data rich and information poor.” But this can be fixed two ways: implementing a data warehouse and improving data stewardship. Without appropriate healthcare data stewardship, even the best infrastructures become underutilized and poorly understood by knowledge workers who could be generating value with the data every day. Data stewards will become critical partners to the data warehouse team in creating a thriving user base. They are the data librarians who advise and guide users, and help them get the most value out of the enterprise data warehouse.

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5 Reasons Healthcare Data Is Unique and Difficult to Measure

Healthcare data is not linear. It is a complex, diverse beast unlike the data of any other industry. There are five ways in particular that make healthcare data unique: 1. Much of the data is in multiple places. 2. The data is structured and unstructured. 3. It has inconsistent and variable definitions; evidence-based practice and new research is coming out every day. 4. The data is complex. 5. Changing regulatory requirements. The answer for this unpredictability and complexity is the agility of a Late-Binding™ Data Warehouse.

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Demystifying Healthcare Data Governance

As the Age of Analytics emerges in healthcare, health system executives are increasingly challenged to define a data governance strategy that maximizes the value of data to the mission of their organizations. Adding to that challenge, the competitive nature of the data warehouse and analytics market place has resulted in significant noise from vendors and consultants alike who promise to help health systems develop their data governance strategy. Having gone on his own turbulent data governance ride as a CIO in the US Air Force and healthcare, Dale Sanders, Senior Vice President at Health Catalyst will cut through the market noise to cover the following topics:

  • General concepts of data governance, regardless of industry
  • Unique aspects of data governance in healthcare
  • Data governance in a “Late Binding” data warehouse
  • The layers and roles in data governance
  • The four “Closed Loops” of healthcare analytics and data governance

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Overcoming Clinical Data Problems in Quality Improvement Projects

Starting your clinical quality improvement projects with access to data you’ve never seen before is exciting! But as analysis starts, you notice missing and incomplete data. Data quality problems are one of the most common but unexpected initial challenges of any substantive clinical quality improvement. project. Anny and Kathy both share keys to success learned from years of experience to overcome that trough of despair.

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7 Essential Practices for Data Governance in Healthcare

While information and data security is a long-standing body of practice and knowledge in corporations, data governance is less mature, especially in healthcare. As a result of this lower maturity, there is a tendency to operate in extremes, either too much governance or too little. Over time, as data and analytic maturity increases, the healthcare industry will find a natural equilibrium. In this post, Dale identifies simple practices of data governance in 7 areas: 1) balanced, lean governance, 2) data quality, 3) data access, 4) data literacy, 5) data content, 6) analytic prioritization, and 7) master data management.

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Data: Quality, Management, Governance - Additional Content

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Four Critical Phases for Effective Healthcare Data Governance

Based on a 2018 Healthcare Analytics Summit, this report details the four phases necessary for successful healthcare data governance:

  1. Elevate a vision and agenda that align with organizational priorities.
  2. Establish an organizational structure to fulfill the data governance mandate.
  3. Execute with prioritized data governance projects, people and resource assignment, and disciplined focus on the work.
  4. Extend data governance investments and efforts through established practices.
Each step must follow the core principles of stakeholder engagement, shared understanding, alignment, and focus. Effective healthcare data governance is not a one-time event and requires ongoing and iterative efforts.

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Clinical Data Management: 3 Improvement Strategies

Most health systems suffer from data clutter and efficiency problems. As a result, analysts spend most of their time searching for data, not performing high value work.  There are three steps that can help you address your data management issues: 1) find all your dispersed analysts in the organization, 2) assess your analytics risks and challenges, 3) champion the creation of an EDW as the foundation for clinical data management.

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The Number One Secret of Highly Effective Healthcare Data Analysts

Data-driven quality improvement is propelling healthcare transformation. The ability to strategically leverage healthcare data is essential, making highly effective data analysts more valuable than ever. So, what attributes differentiate a good data analyst from a great analyst? Stephen Covey’s well-known book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” has long had far-reaching impacts in the business world. These same principles are relevant today and applicable in the world of healthcare analytics. Learn how Covey’s second habit, “Begin With the End in Mind,” drives great healthcare data analysts.

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EHR Integration: Achieving this Digital Health Imperative

As the digital trajectory of healthcare rises, health systems have an array of new resources available to make more effective and timely care decisions. However, to use these data analytics, machine learning, predictive analytics, and wellness applications to gain real-time, data-driven insight at the point of care, health systems must fully integrate the tools with their EHRs. Integration brings technical and administrative challenges, requiring organizations to coordinate around standards, administrative processes, regulatory principles, and functional integration, as well as develop compelling integration use cases that drive demand. When realized, full EHR integration will allow clinicians to leverage data from across the continuum of care (from health plan to patient-generated data) to improve patient diagnosis and treatment.

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Six Challenges to Becoming a Data-Driven Payer Organization

As healthcare transitions from fee-for-service to value-based payment, payer organizations are increasingly looking to population health management strategies to help them lower costs. To manage individuals within their populations, payers must become data driven and establish the technical infrastructure to support expanding access to and reliance on data from across the continuum of care. To fully leverage the breadth and depth of data that an effective health management strategy requires, payers must address six key challenges of becoming data driven:

  1. Data availability.
  2. Data access.
  3. Data aggregation.
  4. Data analysis.
  5. Data adoption.
  6. Data application.

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Critical Healthcare M&A Strategies: A Data-driven Approach

Historically technology and talent were primary assets used to weigh the value of M&A activity, but data is an equal pillar. Buyers (the acquiring organizations) face enormous responsibility and risk with M&A transactions. C-suite leaders have a lot to consider—enterprise-wide technology, finances, operations, facilities, talent, processes, workflows, etc.—during the due diligence process. But attention is often heavily weighted toward time-honored balance sheet and facility assets rather than next-generation assets with the long-term strategic value in the M&A process: data. The model for conducting due diligence around data involves four disciplines:

  • Establish the strategic objectives of the M&A with the leadership team.
  • Prioritize data along with the standardization of solutions and the design of a new IT organization (i.e., a co-equal effort for data, tools, and talent).
  • Identify the near-term data strategic priorities, stakeholders, and tools.
  • Assess the talent and consider creating an analytics center of excellence (ACOE) to harness organizational capabilities.

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Five Lessons for Building Adaptive Healthcare Data Models that Support Innovation

Healthcare data models are the backbone of innovation in healthcare, without which many new technologies may never come to fruition, so it’s important to build models that focus on relevant content and specific use cases. Health Catalyst has been continuously refining its approach to building concise yet adaptive healthcare data models for years. Because of our experience, we’ve learned five key lessons when it comes to building healthcare data models:

  1. Focus on relevant content.
  2. Externally validate the model.
  3. Commit to providing vital documentation.
  4. Prioritize long-term planning.
  5. Automate data profiling.
These lessons are essential to apply when building adaptive healthcare data models (and their corresponding methodologies, tools, and best practices) given the prominent role they play in fueling the technologies designed to solve healthcare’s toughest problems.

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The Four Essential Zones of a Healthcare Data Lake

The role of a data lake in healthcare analytics is essential in that it creates broad data access and usability across the enterprise. It has symbiotic relationships with an enterprise data warehouse and a data operating system. To avoid turning the data lake into a black lagoon, it should feature four specific zones that optimize the analytics experience for multiple user groups:

  1. Raw data zone.
  2. Refined data zone.
  3. Trusted data zone.
  4. Exploration zone.
Each zone is defined by the level of trust in the resident data, the data structure and future purpose, and the user type. Understanding and creating zones in a data lake behooves leadership and management responsible for maximizing the return on this considerable investment of human, technical, and financial resources.

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What Is a Healthcare Data Lake and Why Do You Need One? Imagine a Supermarket

Using a supermarket analogy, this article helps healthcare leaders understand what data lakes are (open reservoirs for vast amounts of data), why they’re essential (they reduce the time and resources required to map data), and how they integrate with three common analytic architectures:

  1. Early-Binding Data Warehouse
  2. Late-Binding Data Warehouse
  3. Map-Reduce Hadoop System
Data lakes are useful parts of all three platforms, but deciding which platform to integrate a data lake with depends heavily on a health system’s resources and infrastructure. Once understood and appropriately integrated with the optimal analytics platform, data lakes save health systems time, money, and resources by adding structure to data only as use cases arise.

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Interoperability in Healthcare Delivers Critical Health Information at the Point of Care

Interoperability in healthcare, despite frequent objections by EHR vendors and health systems (e.g. “EHR integration is too difficult to manage”), is integral to delivering high quality patient care. Interoperability means different things to different health system stakeholders, from leaders seeing it as a purchase they must defend, to clinicians relying on it to get the information they need, when they need it. But it boils down to delivering the highest-quality, most effective, and most efficient care to patients—a goal that’s easier to define than achieve. One of interoperability’s most important use cases, EHR integration, is challenged by EHR vendors and health systems worried about integration challenges, from HIT vendors wanting to integrate too many tools, to EHR access fears. Fortunately, objections are dissipating with the introduction of national interoperability policy and better cooperation among industry participants. Amidst these distractions, health systems need to regain focus on interoperability’s top goal: improving patient care by making the best information available at the point of care.

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How to Use Text Analytics in Healthcare to Improve Outcomes—Why You Need More than NLP

Given the fact that up to 80 percent of clinical data is stored in unstructured text, healthcare organizations need to harness the power of text analytics. But, surprisingly, less than five percent of health systems use it due to resource limitations and the complexity of text analytics. But given the industry’s necessity to use text analytics to create precise patient registries, enhance their understanding of high-risk patient populations, and improve outcomes, this executive report explains why systems must start using it—and explains how to get started. Health systems can start using text analytics to improve outcomes by focusing on four key components:

  1. Optimize text search (display, medical terminologies, and context).
  2. Enhance context and extract values with an NLP pipeline.
  3. Always validate the algorithm.
  4. Focus on interoperability and integration using a Late-Binding approach.
This broad approach with position health systems for clinical and financial success.

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Data for Improving Healthcare vs. Data for Exasperating Healthcare Workers

For better or worse, hospitals are obligated to collect and report data for regulatory purposes. Or they feel compelled to meet some reputational metric. The problem is, an inordinate amount of time can be spent on what is considered data for accountability or punishment, when the real focus should be on data for learning and improvement. When time, effort, and resources are dedicated to the latter, it leads to real outcomes improvement. Deming has three views of focusing on a process and this article applies them to healthcare:

  1. Sub-optimization, over-emphasizing a single part at the expense of the whole.
  2. Extreme over-emphasis, also called gaming the system.
  3. The right amount of focus, the only path to improvement.
With data for learning as the primary goal, improving clinical, operational, and financial processes becomes an internal strategy that lifts the entire healthcare system.

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When Healthcare Data Analysts Fulfill the Data Detective Role

There’s a new way to think about healthcare data analysts. Give them the responsibilities of a data detective. If ever there were a Sherlock Holmes of healthcare analytics, it’s the analyst who thinks like a detective. Part scientist, part bloodhound, part magician, the healthcare data detective thrives on discovery, extracting pearls of insight where others have previously returned emptyhanded. This valuable role comprises critical thinkers, story engineers, and sleuths who look at healthcare data in a different way. Three attributes define the data detective:

  1. They are inquisitive and relentless with their questions.
  2. They let the data inform.
  3. They drive to the heart of what matters.
Innovative analytics leaders understand the importance of supporting the data analyst through the data detective career track, and the need to start developing this role right away in the pursuit of outcomes improvement in all healthcare domains.

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The Surprising Benefits of Bad Healthcare Data

Bad healthcare data is inevitable. Whether it happens as a result of human input error or an incorrect rule, bad healthcare data will happen. And rather than ignoring it, hiding it, or scrubbing it, health systems need to take a more transparent approach. Bad healthcare data, when approached correctly, has four surprising benefits:

  1. Provides valuable feedback to application users/data consumers.
  2. Inspires an improvement culture.
  3. Creates a Snowball Effect of Success.
  4. Improves Data Accuracy.
It’s not easy to make the shift from fearing bad data to embracing it, but there are several steps systems can take to start creating a data transparency culture:
  1. Empower: encourage data consumers to provide feedback.
  2. Share: Provide a mechanism for sharing feedback.
  3. Act: dedicate time and resources to respond and act.
Health systems prepared and willing to fix bad data will ultimately improve data quality.

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Integrating Data Across Systems of Care: Four Perspectives from Industry Leaders

How to integrate data across systems of care depends on the organization’s perspective. In this report from the Scottsdale Institute, learn how leaders from Health Catalyst, Cerner, Geisinger, and CHI have tackled issues such as population health, HIEs, value-based payments, and data governance. Ultimately the starting point isn’t really how to integrate the data, but why the data needs to be integrated in the first place. The approach changes, for example, when an organization needs to combine data for a regulatory report versus using data for real-time patient-physician interaction.

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Why Process Measures Are Often More Important Than Outcome Measures in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is currently obsessed with outcome measures — and for good reason. But tracking outcome measures alone is insufficient to reach the goals of better quality and reduced costs. Instead, health systems must get more granular with their data by tracking process measures. Process measures make it possible to identify the root cause of a health system’s failures. They’re the checklists of systematically guaranteeing that the right care will be delivered to every patient, every time. By using these checklists, organizations will be able to improve quality and cost by reducing the amount of variation in care delivery.

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