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Healthcare BI success starts with educating employees

Setting performance goals for employees using business intelligence tools in healthcare is necessary to get them to believe in the new technology.

Not every organization that adopts a business intelligence program ends with a success story. The worst cases start with companies that face implementation challenges and end without positive results to show for their efforts. The most common causes of failed business intelligence initiatives are results of the culture and technology within an organization.

Healthcare organizations are collecting more data than ever and are looking for a way to analyze it. A business intelligence (BI) program can enable them to process valuable information and turn it into meaningful insights that can improve their business performance. Technology vendors are marketing BI and analytics tools to healthcare as a way to reduce cost, enhance patient outcomes and increase safety. Current analytics tools can concurrently mine patient data stored in clinical, imaging, labs, registration and billing systems. A CIO has the option to deploy healthcare BI tools on-premises or in the cloud.

Although BI tools may come equipped with sophisticated and advanced ways of processing and representing data, many CIOs recognize that a successful BI plan is more than chart scorecards, key performance indicators and dashboards.

BI in healthcare strategies

A successful BI initiative requires significant preparation and strategic planning. Many failed BI projects have suffered from a lack of user adoption, even when the technology was valid. This proves CIOs must change their organization's culture by educating employees on the value of including BI in their workflows.

Here are the most critical steps to acquiring organizational support and ensuring a strong adoption rate for healthcare BI.

Define the desired outcomes. End users must be able to observe positive outcomes from the content being delivered by their BI technology. They should understand exactly how the technology is being used to meet patient care or business goals. This will give users a reason to use their BI system until it becomes a habit.

Identify employees who can address questions. Having a peer who is comfortable answering questions about BI tools will help convert other employees from non-believers to users. Employing a BI liaison will also lead to a larger sample of user feedback.

Specify and encourage new habits. To derive the most value from BI and analytics, end users should habitually gauge their performance as often as their role within the business requires. Heavy BI users must check their performance as frequently as nurses observe the vital signs of a patient in the intensive care unit.

Foster complete buy-in. Analytics initiatives require executive support. This will drive BI adoption at every level of the organization and promote the use of data to improve patient care.

Deliver relevant and actionable data. End users must be given information that is relevant to their role within the organization in order for them to trust and value the BI platform they're using. The data delivered by the BI platform must also be actionable, meaning end users must have enough information to correct any issues they uncover. Equally important is to receive information in time to fix something before it becomes a larger problem.

Using their new tools in a meaningful fashion is the ultimate goal of CIOs who deploy analytics and a healthcare BI system. An organization will meet its desired objectives to improve patient outcomes, increase safety, enhance operational efficiency and support public health efforts only if it first designs plans to adjust its existing technology and business culture.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email [email protected] or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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