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A Better Approach to Report & Analytics Development

There is an unquenchable thirst for information in hospitals today. In addition to financial and revenue cycle information, we need to make our service departments run more efficiently, monitor quality more closely, utilize resources more fully and streamline patient flow. So the demand for dashboards, graphs, grids and reports is higher than ever. And we need a way to prioritize the backlog.

Polaris’ expertise can tackle your backlog and boost your information flow. That means quicker reporting across your entire organization.

But report and analytic projects have different characteristics from traditional IT projects such as application development, software purchase and implementation projects.

Effort = Traditional IT projects are usually measured in person years while development of a report is usually measured in person weeks. Although each report may be smaller in size, there are many more of them.

Data Dependency & Availability = one of the largest differentiators is the extreme dependency that reports have on good quality data. After all, the definition of reports & analytics is to turn large and often highly complex data sets into meaningful information from which decisions can be made. Without data there is no success. Traditional IT projects may have little or no dependency on data outside if HL7 interfaces and often generate data as an output.

Requirements = Traditional IT projects tend to be complex with lengthy lists of requirements. Reports & metrics tend to have more focused requirements.

Interdependencies = Many traditional IT projects stand on their own with plans and phases and progress that is tracked by management. Reports & metrics; however, are often a byproduct of a major project or initiative. For example, requests for reports may be generated by business decisions, process improvement projects, physician affinity, compliance monitoring or utilization tracking initiatives. Even traditional IT projects can generate a need for report development.

Focus on Data and Interdependencies

These differing characteristics for reports & analytics call for an approach with low overhead and a keen focus on data and interdependencies. Here are some suggestions:

  • Ideally, the planning and prioritization for reports & metrics would occur within their predecessor projects/initiatives. Unfortunately, report requirements are often overlooked so resources aren’t set aside or even anticipated.
  • Data availability must be a key consideration.
  • Be careful not to add additional overhead for justifying reports & metrics (i.e. cost/benefit studies). Gaining information that is vital to decision making is obviously necessary but hard to quantify.
  • A simple rating system such as MoSCoW is helpful but uncomplicated. MoSCoW comes from the software development Agile Method DSDM and uses the following categories:
    • M – MUST have this
    • S – SHOULD have this if at all possible
    • C – COULD have this if it does not affect anything else
    • W – WON’T have this time but WOULD like in the future
  • Be sure to get the appropriate expertise for the development of reports, metrics and analytics. Hospital IT departments have more demand than they can handle. Many efforts are inhibited by lack of resources. And the absence of the appropriate skills necessary for analytic development plague many healthcare organizations (see Crucial Skills to Find Meaning in Your Data). Expertise will solve the skill problem which will also speed the process.

Call in the Report & Analytics Experts

This is where Polaris Strategic Solutions can help. We can tackle your backlog and boost your information flow. We are a comprehensive service that works as an extension of your IT staff and we are experts at report writing and data analytics for hospitals. Contact us today at 610-355-2480 or for a quick demo.

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