Survey Shows Need for More Healthcare ‘Data Trust’

How much do you trust the quality of your organization’s data as a financial, clinical and operational decision-making tool? How easily and reliably do your current systems enable your organization’s various service lines and functions to harness that data and generate meaningful reports for important decision making, without having to go through IT?

A recent survey of 85 chief information officers and senior healthcare IT leaders revealed that few of the responding organizations had high trust levels in their data or confidence in their organizations’ existing “self-service analytics,” i.e., business intelligence that allows specific business or service lines to independently query and create useful reports for decision making. Approximately three-fourths reported that they plan to invest in HIT capabilities that will help them make improvements in each of these two areas.

“Healthcare organizations have a long way to go in developing rock-solid trust in their data and self-service access to it,” according to the survey, conducted by consulting firm Dimensional Insights. Further, “it appears that executives are aware of these challenges and are ready to dedicate resources” in these areas, the survey said, noting that data trust and access will be increasingly important as healthcare providers continue with the transition to value-based care. “The transition will require increased, high-level collaboration among different constituencies within a healthcare enterprise,” and those decisions will need “to be quantitatively assessed against reliable, trustworthy data.”

Participants rated their user communities’ level of data trust on a 1 to 10 scale, with trust defined as the extent to which “user populations believe that they can trust the data provided to make decisions.” Fewer than half of organizations reported trust ratings of 8 or higher for their financial, clinical and operational data (48 percent, 40 percent and 36 percent, respectively).

Participants were also asked “What percentage of your user population would you consider to be self-serviced in making data-driven decisions?” As in the area of data trust, respondents indicated similarly low levels of self-service, especially in clinical and operational settings.

The majority of participants indicated that they plan to increase their organizations’ investment in data trust, with at least 70 percent reporting that they plan to increase investments in trusted data in each of the three realms: clinical (78 percent), operational (77 percent) and financial (70 percent).

Plans to increase investment in self-service analytics also broke down among the three realms in a similar fashion: clinical (78 percent), operational (73 percent) and financial (68 percent).

The survey report suggested three tactics to help healthcare organizations address their needs in these areas:

Keep subject matter experts close to the data. Subject matter experts understand the data and how it will be used, so they should be involved directly in designing and implementing the systems and in deciding how to present information in a way that builds trust within the user community.

Automate business logic transformations. “More automation is better when it comes to the often complex logic required to transform raw data into meaningful information,” the report contends.

Promote transparency and visibility. Although there are limits to how much visibility organizations will want to provide, prudently selective transparency for frontline users that enables them to perform deeper analyses will lead to better, more informed decisions.

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