Avoiding Data Dumptrucking, Part Two

Data CelebrationBy Cliff Gallagher, Partner, JHD Healthcare Partners

Perhaps you read my blog on data dumptrucking, and see similarities in your organization. Now, let’s look at steps you can take to steer clear of this fate.

Simply put, data dumptrucking is the process of being handicapped by the very data that is supposed to bring you clarity.  Whether it’s because of the sheer volume of data or that the same data is pulled and used differently across the organization, more data can sometimes mean more trouble. When you’re converting to a new EHR/PM system, that trickle of data suddenly becomes a waterfall of data, and you find yourself with no life preserver.

Establishing a central repository for the data is key to overcoming these issues – or one department responsible for “owning” the data (creating and pulling reports, checking for accuracy, running requested numbers, etc.).  Here are a few other tips to avoid data dumptrucking in your organization:

  • Fully understand the system’s capabilities.
  • Have a rigorous process that defines what you are looking for in your reporting.
  • Consistently ask yourself, does the data even make sense?
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders on what data is most beneficial to decision making, and how can be used effectively.
  • With the new system, clearly define 20 or 30 reports your organization needs and establish a clear process of building them and testing them. Don’t just expect the system to “go” or that the way your old system did things is easily convertible to the new system.

A few items to keep in mind during the transition:

  1. The ability to get more information out of this new system will be worth it once the system is designed the right way for your organization.
  2. The data will help to more effectively achieve the Triple Aim — reduce costs, improve quality and make patients happier.
  3. This is a change management effort, which means what might have worked before isn’t going to work in the future. This is an opportunity to evaluate what was done in the past and improve it to be better at delivering the best care possible to patients.
  4. Once it’s up and running and humming correctly, the system should easily automate functions — from data entry to data analysis, this new data will allow for faster decision-making and quicker reaction to necessary changes.

It’s also important to be critical of data in the beginning.  Once it’s accurate, it needs to be repeatable, reproducible, and pushed out often.

We have helped organizations successfully transition systems and develop the right data and reporting methodologies that mitigate losses in revenue and gaps in care. Let’s talk about how we can put our expertise to work for you.

Cliff Gallagher is a partner with JHD Healthcare Partners who leads the Practice Co-management service line. Contact JHD Healthcare Partners today to find out how you can avoid data dumptrucking in your organization.  www.jhdhp.com

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