As the 2022 Healthcare Analytics Summit (HAS 22) came to a close, a clear picture came into focus of the evolving relationship between healthcare analytics and the people it serves. During the two full days, packed with presentations by industry leaders, five key themes emerged across the diverse presentations.
The first trend that surfaced in many of the breakout and keynote speaker sessions was that in order for healthcare analytics to be truly successful, the path which providers follow to learn, analyze, and implement data-informed improvements has to remain person-centric.
On day one, featured speakers Kedar Mate, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Brent James, MD, MStat, Clinical Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, discussed targeted universalism; how data-driven health equity strategies facilitate systemic change that improves outcomes not only for vulnerable populations but also for entire communities. By using data to reveal inequities, healthcare organizations empower providers to recognize where disparities exist and how best to facilitate change. By so doing, healthcare organizations can foster patients’ trust in providers and strengthen provider/patient relationships.
Penny Wheeler, MD, Former CEO at Allina Health, echoed the need for a person-centric approach in her discussion of how Allina Health’s headquarters was at the center of protests for the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and, along with many healthcare organizations, struggled under the demands of the COVID pandemic. Allina Health signed a pledge with healthcare systems, payers, and clinics to meet both challenges head-on and then created a system-wide approach to implementing changes that recognized patient outcomes as the heart of the organization’s efforts. To facilitate broad change and determine where challenges existed, Allina established how various roles contributed to their mission and created a comprehensive scorecard for patient outcomes that are psychometrically sound, person-centered, meaningful to the person, amenable to change, and implementable.
Another trend woven into the featured speaker sessions, was that human judgement combined with AI will foster better care decisions made by physicians, healthcare leaders, and patients themselves.
Jason Jones, PhD, Stephanie Jackson, MD, FHM, and Lisa Taylor, MS explored the need for AI to be utilized at the executive level. Dr. Taylor emphasized that leaders need to be asking for more clinical, financial, and operational data; and, while data should be the starting point for executive decisions, the panel agreed it should always be balanced with human judgment. To support the evolving relationship of AI and healthcare metrics, clinicians need to always be asking “what is the human’s job and what is the computer’s job?
In her talk “Designing Machine Learning Processes for Equitable Health,” Marzyeh Ghassemi, MSc, PhDdiscussed her research on artificial intelligence (AI) and shared her findings that, because models are trained, machine learning (ML) is susceptible to learning racial biases. To mitigate the risks of mis-trained models, which can lead to inappropriate treatment decisions, providers need to look to AI analytics for additional information and insights.
At the heart of many HAS speaker sessions was the need to seek out and maintain a connection with patients and colleagues, and to be inspired and fueled by those connections to drive measurable change.
After recognizing his own unease with rejection and the limitations it imposed on his aspirations as an entrepreneur, inspirational and emotional intelligence speaker Jia Jang decided to put his assumptions about rejection to the test. Jang’s talk focused on his experience with “rejection therapy” and his 100-days-of-rejection project, which led him through a series of outlandish requests he made to strangers for things such as $100 or a “refill” on his burger.
What Jang discovered is that people’s unwillingness to comply began to shift if he asked them “why” and continued the conversation rather than leave it. The simple act of asking this question also helped him feel less defeated and served as a means for connection. He eventually found some takers and was able to play soccer in a stranger’s backyard, drive a police car, and fly a gyroplane, among other experiences he may never have had if he had simply accepted the rejection.
His study revealed that by staying engaged he was able to create opportunities and explore possibilities that proved more powerful than rejection.
As former lead animator and storyteller for Pixar studios, Matthew Luhn knows what makes a story captivating for audiences.
Luhn’s HAS presentation broke down what he defines as the main elements of a great story: a great hook to grab the viewers’ attention; inspire change, because great stories are about transformation; make a connection by tapping into universal desires like love, safety, or fear of failure; and don’t neglect structure, as every story has a beginning, middle, and end.
In closing, he emphasized that people ultimately remember how a story made them feel, and these are the ones that succeed.
As a leading emotional intelligence speaker, happiness researcher, and bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor offered his unique understanding of how people undermine their own success with the false assumption that achievements bring happiness, when, in fact, the research shows it is the other way around. Research and neuroimaging have revealed that mindset and established thinking patterns create our worldview and influence our chances of success. By training our brains to seek out the positive elements of experience, we help ensure not only our own success and happiness but can also build better connections and communities that support positive changes.
Embracing empathy is an essential building block to making those meaningful connections. The fourth trend that was apparent within many presentations at HAS was that empathy will ultimately lead providers to better outcomes.
In his address, Ford Koles, Jr., Vice President and National Spokesperson, Advisory Board, discussed how workforce shortages, coverage swings, vertical integration, and stalled innovation investment are all healthcare industry challenges that providers need to consider. By acknowledging and understanding the current healthcare climate, providers are better equipped to find opportunities to connect with patients through out-patient services and personalized care. Koles also noted that the best approach for providers in navigating this difficult period will be continued dedication to long-term strategies.
Marcus Collins, DBA, MBA, DE&I Thought Leader, Head of Strategy, Wieden+Kennedy, cautioned providers to mind the gap between data and the real lives and meaning behind these metrics.
To understand patients more holistically, Collins pointed to ethnographic research and the strategies it employs to tease out meaning from data. His three recommendations:
A final trend woven into HAS 22 was that with the abundance of technology available, healthcare providers should embrace and support patients collecting their own data to empower their care experience.
Talithia Williams, PhD, Host of the PBS Series, NOVA Wonders, explained how sharing her stored personal health data with her providers helped her avoid an unnecessary induced labor procedure.
An abundance of digital devices are now available to track personal health data; and Williams urged providers to encourage this new technological empowerment and help patients take charge of their health data and claim more authority for their healthcare choices and plans.
Dr. Williams leveraged data collection in her own healthcare experiences, including during her pregnancies. She shared an experience when a doctor determined her baby was under stress and recommended they induce labor immediately. In response, Dr. Williams pulled up data from a previous pregnancy that ended in miscarriage. By comparing temperature data from that pregnancy with her current data, she determined her baby was not actually under stress.
She then signed a waiver to leave the hospital without inducing and later delivered a healthy boy at term.
Dr. Williams demonstrated how empowering patients with data gives them authority in their healthcare decisions. Consumers can look critically at their personal information, shifting the power dynamic with the physician and ensuring care plans support their personal goals.
Five-Time Olympic Medalist in USA Bobsled Elana Meyers Taylor shared how technology and the insights provided by data helped her compete in the Beijing Olympics. When she and her family contracted COVID before competitions began and needed to quarantine, she was able to rely on her previous training and focus only on the aspects of her circumstances that she could control: her thoughts, sleep, workouts, mental race preparation, and her son’s nutrition. By keeping extraneous information at bay, Myers Taylor was able rebound from COVID and win two gold medals.
Industry leaders at HAS 22 championed the summit’s theme “Embracing the Human Side of Healthcare Analytics” by exploring ways to collaborate, empower, and remain empathetic when dissecting data to improve patient and provider experiences. The two full days offered summit attendees new ways to look at data and analytics and new perspectives for making the healthcare ecosystem better.