Health systems need to capitalize on their underlying information, now more than ever before. But success for many organizations has been both expensive and elusive. Here are tips to help you avoid the three major pitfalls that can quickly diminish your reporting efforts.
No reporting system has value without a firm belief in the accuracy of the information. Health care is no exception. The key to data integrity is a central data source. The challenge is to identify and unify data from a myriad of clinical, financial, ambulatory and departmental systems. The first step is to combine data from multiple inputs. Consider both current as well as historic information that may be useful for trending. Next, establish the rules and procedures to identify and correct missing and/or inconsistent information. Finally, put a process in place to keep the central data in tune with the ongoing changes of the organization.
Each organization has unique data needs. Yes, certain information is vital to all health care institutions, but each department has its own mission and its own strategic, quality and financial goals. Likewise, it is important to know the audience. Everyone wants quick answers but different roles prefer information in different forms. Physicians are visual. Financial managers want spreadsheets. Analysts want details. Executives want summaries. Therefore, static and generic reports do not work. A wide range of tools must be employed to address these diverse requirements. Expertise in data visualization is also a must. There is a variety of ways to express data – tables, histograms, pie charts, grids, control charts and bar graphs to name a few. Data visualization experts keep up on the latest tools and are trained to convey information in the most effect way.
Too often the reporting needs of an organization are approached as a project — with a beginning and an end. Projects can certainly get the ball rolling, but a truly effective reporting system must stay current with the needs of the organization. The effort is ongoing. The system must be adjusted to align with shifting priorities. It must be adapted to evolving regulatory requirements, organizational changes, and information technologies upgrades. As more employees gain trust and access to the information, they will find more ways to use the data. They will undoubtedly think of new requirements and combinations. So recognize the need to continually improve, and staff accordingly.
Polaris Strategic Solutions understands these essential elements. We help our health care customers collect data into unified views, and present it effectively to individuals all across the enterprise. And we insist on regular updates to accommodate the natural shifts that occur in every organization. Our tool set is comprehensive. Our staff is expert in data visualization for health care. Find out how we can help you gain vital, enterprise-wide access to your data using the latest in reporting technology and techniques.
By Marilyn Marchant, VP Business Development, Polaris Strategic Solutions