- Ronald Reagan
"The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things."
- Ronald Reagan
Prominence was ranked in the top 5 for Leadership and top 7 for Client Engagement in Consulting Magazine’s Best Small Firms to Work For rankings. This ranking is a reflection of the Prominence team, the best and brightest in the healthcare industry. We leverage our experience across hundreds of deployments and through myriad challenges facing healthcare organizations today to deliver efficient, creative, and sustainable solutions.
The rankings are based on an online survey conducted in the spring and summer of 2017. About 10,000 consultants participated, representing more than 300 firms. The consultants surveyed operate in every service line across at least 35 different practices areas and serve clients across all major industries.
Carla Russell, Senior Project Manager
Data governance represents one of the biggest changes on the healthcare horizon today. At Prominence Advisors, we were pulled to data governance dynamically. When we started as a company, we focused on Epic staff augmentation, our comfort zone. We realized the power of healthcare data that wasn’t being utilized, and we grew our expertise in analytics solutions. In working with analytics implementations, we found a common denominator missing, to some degree, with all our clients: No one was fully realizing the true value of their data.
We began to address the governance principles of people, processes, tools, and the data infrastructure itself, and we realized that it’s not as easy as just getting people in a room to agree on a process; we found the true barriers to data governance were barriers to big change itself. Our customers understand that by resetting the foundation supporting their information lifecycle, the value of data is easier to both measure and manage. They know that this is the necessary direction to take to deal with all the data they have in an effective way. But big change is tough – where to begin?!
This transition from recognizing the necessary steps to actually taking them, moving outside our comfort zone, parallels experiences many of us go through on a personal level. In my case, it was my experience with a personal trainer. Check out the similarities I found as I compared characteristics of both.
1. Recognize and acknowledge the boundaries of your current comfort zone
2. Work with an expert for an objective reality check
3. (Really, really) commit to a plan
Because I’m more passionate about designing strong, effective approaches to bring the value of data to the forefront of our health systems than I am about designing balanced, challenging strength workouts, I find my mind wandering during my training sessions.
While I’m breathing through my reps, I think about my work on data governance projects. I think about the leaders at the healthcare organizations I work with who know that data governance is the right next step toward achieving their data goals, but they don’t have all the pieces in place (time, energy, a plan, accountability, etc.) to get there.
While I’m struggling to control the momentum of a kettle bell swinging in a smooth arc, I think about how difficult it can be to make a change that requires new and unfamiliar efforts outside of our comfort zones. I think about how acknowledging that change is both necessary and difficult gives staff the permission to take these new and often slow-moving efforts seriously.
While I’m focused on my knees tracking over the outsides of my feet during a set of squats, I think about how critical it is to anticipate mistakes when trying something new, to watch for errors in form or function and immediately teach from them. I think about how essential the role of an expert is to building the awareness, not just of what might be misaligned, but also what the relative impact might be.
While I’m setting up for three sets of ten with a weight I couldn’t lift at all last month, I think about the thrill of recognizing incremental progress for what it is – the result of a vision and the commitment and patience to keep moving, one step at a time, toward that vision.
Interested in talking more about your data governance needs? Contact us at:
by Laura VanHolstyn
It’s no secret that healthcare analytics lag far behind data utilization in other industries. Our data are widely leveraged (and handed back to us) in our daily lives as companies deliver to us with everything from purchase reminders to entertainment suggestions to targeted advertisements. In this post, I’ll highlight the most frequently mentioned ways of integrating innovations from other industries into healthcare, as presented at the Healthcare Analytics conference:
The cross-industry representation at the conference, both in the leadership of some of the pioneering health care organizations and in the presentations themselves, highlight the fact that organizations want to shift strategically. Many featured organizations (both healthcare systems and healthcare-focused start-ups) are putting their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and hiring in analytics leadership from other industries, such as finance, retail, and telecomm. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, these organizations are borrowing the experience and expertise already established elsewhere in business.
I hear the concept of “enterprise” pretty regularly with healthcare organizations, generally in terms of bringing together disparate entities toward a common goal (or direction or toolset). The message from the conference was less about culture and more about the business side – not just an organizational mindset, but an enterprising approach to solutions. For example, one keynote speaker shared that their Enterprise Analytics department serves the entire organization, and so is funded as such. 50% of their budget comes from departments. This not only helps the Analytics department function with a more robust team, it also allows for greater accountability in supporting the needs of the departments it serves.
This paradigm shift really resonated with me, especially in the context of establishing a successful analytics program. In focusing away from Project Management and toward Product Management, we shift from a tactical solution for the short-term toward a strategic solution to address needs in the long(er) term. This allows analytics teams to align their energy with the strategic challenges of a new way of operating. Because access to data and analytics is so new in healthcare, operational subject matter experts are focused on their immediate data requirements, rather than looking ahead to how that need will evolve as their data consumption matures. By acknowledging the many levels of focus that compose a successful analytics team, from fulfilling immediate requests on time to framing efforts in a needs-based, strategic level of data management, analytics teams can have a deeper impact on the organization as a whole.
While enterprise analytics are an emerging tool within healthcare organizations, they are not new, nor are successful implementations enigmatic. By learning from other industries and taking a business approach to craft a direction and an approach, a successful analytics program is within reach.
[Creatively] Complete Me to Craft the Story
New [Quality] Analytics Needed ASAP [MadLib]
It’s another exciting day to be an analytics director!
The CQO just called; she needs to know how to report on [favorite disease]. Turns out the [acronym] Agency made an unexpected visit to your hospital this week. They found [adjective] deficiencies in the [favorite EMR module name] workflow. You get that [any emotion but happy] feeling in the pit of your stomach; this means another [adjective] round of scoping, definition and prioritization, not to mention report development. Too bad you already have your hands full doing exactly that to comply with [favorite new healthcare initiative]!
The CQO sends you a list of requirements and the names of her top subject matter experts, [favorite actor], [Disney character], and [political figure] so you can get rolling. You reach out to your [favorite super hero] team, notifying them of the new focus, and then you begin scheduling [favorite number] meetings to outline analytic goals, whiteboard visualizations, mock up a data model and hold people’s time for data validation. It’s a good thing your team started implementing [favorite analytic tool] and [favorite analytics buzzword] – this will really help speed up the development process and ensure that the data you use is [adjective] scrubbed, consumed and distributed. If only those efforts could be done in time to help put out fires for your CQO!
We’ve been working on quality reporting projects recently, and we put together a maturity scale to help illustrate the considerations involved in improving quality reporting at your organization.
We summarize the levels below, showing both increasing complexity and increasing impact. We’d love to talk with you in more detail about how you can focus in on your quality improvement opportunities. As you go up the scale in quality maturity, you will find more consistent, reliable data and to add actionable insight to your initiatives, allowing you to realize bigger impacts.
Level 1: Submitting Measures
The foundation of quality reporting is submitting required measures. The infrastructure and fluency you require to comply with measure submission sets the stage for the efforts you need to ascend the remaining maturity levels. Submission is a feat in itself, given the hundreds of measures to report to comply with requirements for programs including HIQR, HVBP, and MU.
Level 2: Validating Data-Capture Workflows
Even if you feel confident in your submission process, your workflows are probably not as consistent as you think they are. In fact, the way your clinicians interact with the system may not match your designed and documented workflows at all. The best way to ensure your quality measure data is complete and reliable is to review and (re) document the place where users should enter the data.
Level 3: Managing Some Measure Data
You now feel comfortable with your clinicians’ use of the system and your submission process, so you are ready to take advantage of the information at your disposal. In addition to users interpreting meaningful information presented via a BI or analytics tool, you’ll need to establish data and metric definitions, processes for prioritizing requests for data, and ongoing efforts to evaluate data integrity.
Level 4: Leveraging Measures to Inform Care Improvement Initiatives
Level 4 requires more fluency with the factors that contribute to deficiencies in quality, such as the communication barriers to faster ED turnarounds or the standardization of supplies to facilitate consistent reporting on central line infection rates. Level 4 also requires infrastructure to plan and manage an initiative not just to the completion of the project, but through the analysis of the impact.
Level 5: Strong Physician Engagement
Want the maximum impact for your quality improvement endeavors? You need physician engagement at all levels. By educating physicians on the big picture of patient care and the health impacts of an initiative, they can recognize the consequences of skipping a step in the care of each individual patient. When your physicians support how decisions are made using quality data, they are also more likely to buy in to the effort to ensure the data is complete.
Quality reporting is an increasing part of our healthcare responsibilities, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing. Take stock of your current quality maturity state to formulate a realistic plan, and start reaping the benefits of improved patient care and reduced waste. It’s not only the right thing for your organization, it’s what your patients expect and deserve from you.
The picture on the right is of my son “working” with the fence piece we were moving last summer. It takes a lot of work to move some fence, more than I’d realized.
What’s this have to do with healthcare? Well, it’s all about collaboration. According to recent healthcare trends, working together to coordinate care seems to be primarily via the forced collaboration born from mergers and acquisitions. At least that’s the claim reported in this article by the New York Times. If you ask the FTC, the answer seems to be that, even if that is the best way to collaborate, it’s not an option.
This article focuses on the merger/acquisition trends, and certainly, we’re noticing that more and more. But healthcare organizations are under a lot of pressure from a lot of different places, all impacting how hospitals and physician groups do their business. It’s easy to make bold statements; the challenges are real and continue to challenge the industry. For example:
At Prominence, we’ve worked with organizations seeking collaboration both as part of strategic partnership without changes to the business entities and as part of a merger or acquisition. And we know that there are challenges to success with any complex path you take. At the end of the day, regardless of the pros and cons inherent in working together, our goal is always to improve care and outcomes for patients.
We’re interested in looking more deeply at the challenges and the outcomes of acquisitions and mergers, as well as the ways organizations have overcome their challenges with collaboration, so we’ll revisit this topic in future posts.
Change, especially within a healthcare organization, can be hard. There are obstacles everywhere; from competing priorities to lack of interest, tight resources to budget cuts, sometimes it may seem like following the same routine and processes are the better [and easier] path to take. But what happens when you have a vision of betterment? What happens when you want to change but don’t know how to affect it?
I recently came across this article about physician engagement, and it got me thinking about change, especially in the healthcare world. For better or worse, your IT vision depends on physician engagement as much as physicians depend on you. Inspiration and acceptance of change are most powerful when you have a genuine interest and drive that pulls you towards your goals. Physician champions are the key to driving change within your organization and creating lasting impacts of your vision.
What’s the best way to connect with physicians? Put yourself in their shoes, and design your communication to appeal to their strengths. I want my physicians to be:
Craft the message about your change with evidence-based rationale, how it impacts patient care, and how those impacts affect overall patient outcomes, and you’ll probably both get engaged feedback on your change and interested physicians.
Of course, you will need other champions too. Executive sponsorship might get you the staff or the budget, operational stakeholders might get you the feedback to round out your idea, and so on…but to truly shift direction, connect with your physicians. Substantiate your proposal by explaining the benefits of aligning goals and joining forces. To spark interest and ignite a fire for change, you need to understand what your physicians want and find the right balance between giving and taking in your relationship.
At Prominence, we believe that being dynamic and able to change is critical for any business and we make it a central part of our philosophy. We make change an outcome of every engagement we have. We want to see the effort you put forward turn into something great.
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