Innovation through data-driven diagnostics

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Organizations across the health care sector recognize that the innovative use of data—when information is combined for advanced analysis and managed across disciplines, systems, and settings—is crucial to solving the most challenging problems in both patient health and operational efficiency.

Despite this widespread recognition, only 15% of respondents to a recent global
survey of 742 health care leaders describe their organization today as being mature
in its ability to access, integrate, and analyze health care data from diverse sources.


Half of the participants in the study, conducted by Harvard Business Review
Analytic Services, say they are developing these capabilities, but decision making
is slowed by gaps in the digital workflow. And a third say that while they have some
data management tools, pulling relevant data together is a slow and challenging
process. Respondents represent a range of health organizations, with a plurality
being care providers.


To benefit from being more data-driven, health care organizations need to adopt
new analytic tools and break down silos—starting with silos of data and systems,
but also bridging silos within organizational functions and across organizational
boundaries. The most successful will take a broad view of their improvement goals,
looking not just at automating a discrete activity or function but rather approaching
the effort as a true transformation of data flows and processes among various parts
of the health system.

Respondents recognize the importance of sharing and managing data—both clinical
and operational—across settings. But the survey found only 19% are very successful
at managing clinical data across care settings today.


Even the leaders have a ways to go, with only 50% claiming to be very successful.
The picture is no better when it comes to managing operational data across care
settings—only 16% say they are very successful doing so.

There are a number of reasons for the large gap between the importance
organizations place on the successful management of data and their current level
of maturity. These include:
• Poor data quality and inconsistency from one source and setting to another
• Cultural problems, including organizational silos and a lack of leadership
• Data security, privacy, governance, and compliance concerns
• Technical issues such as a lack of integration and system compatibility
• Misaligned interests between providers, pharmaceutical companies, and payers

Leaders—those 15% who describe their organization as adept at leveraging data from diverse sources—are not immune from these inhibitors, but change-driving leadership, higher levels of funding, and advantageous relationships are helping them to navigate the process.
To pick up the pace of their digital transformation and realize the care delivery and cost-efficiency benefits, providers need to:
• Make data-driven health care a key priority that is led from the center of the organization.
• Adopt a true digital transformation approach to data-driven health care, collaborating across silos—both within their organizations and externally, with other providers, technology suppliers, pharmaceutical companies, payers, and patients.
• Realign their data strategy to a value-based approach to health care.
• Apply innovation not only to incrementally improve existing operations but to radically change the nature of care delivery.

The digital transformation journey in health care has just begun. Today electronic medical records (EMRs) are fairly prevalent, at least within individual care settings, but the same
cannot yet be said of shared medical records or digital tools to support clinical and operational decision making. And there is plenty of scope to grow the use of cloud-based services and platforms to bring together and interpret health data.