Big Data, Big Picture: Pain Points and Action Plans

The journey to turn information into action can be an arduous one. Without the necessary resources, strategies and alignment, it can be a longer journey than anticipated. How you use and implement strategies surrounding big data can make or break your achievement of organizational goals.

Preparing your organization for the workflow transformation that accompanies these changes is also key to ensuring operational success. Every role within the organization plays a part in bringing the big data ecosystem to life.

The Impact of Big Data Implementation Internally

Adapting to massive organizational transformation inevitably influences not only the clinician experience but everyone involved, explained Ann O’Brien, RN, MSN, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, clinical leadership veteran and 2018 recipient of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award. During a recent STEPS to Value podcast episode, she mapped out the pain points clinicians and others have during the transition to a big data, consumerism-centered healthcare ecosystem.

“We have a lot of tools, but we don’t have all the sophisticated interoperability and opportunities to convert that data,” O’Brien explained. “If someone wants to send in all the information off of their smartwatch every single day, the physician doesn’t need 5,000 blood pressures; what they need is to have intelligent tools to make sure that the data is being organized in a way that the information is actionable for the clinicians. We are not quite at the point where the physician or the nurse practitioner or the community health educator can have that data be organized in a way that is personalized, meaningful and actionable.”

O’Brien’s experience is not unlike so many others throughout the health ecosystem. So how does an organization ensure its data and analytics strategies are helping, not hurting, professionals at all levels of the organization? How do you ensure a seamless experience from point of care and beyond?

Strategies for Big Data Success

Understanding and aligning data strategies for success is key to improving organizational ROI, according to the HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence Committee. A resource on big data accessibility developed by the committee outlines key elements in driving your data strategies to improve ROI down the road.

Implement Cross-Functional Teams

Well-rounded expertise will help stakeholders gain access to more diverse, actionable data. Stakeholder-led teams within the organization should each have champions who lead the collection of information within their sphere and bring that data to the table with their knowledge and expertise of the unit to strategize about the big picture.

Include Analytics Expertise at Every Unit Level

Implementing new strategies almost always means hiring a variety of skilled professionals who bring diverse knowledge and background into different levels of the organization. By embedding analytics teams at each unit level, you will be able to collect more information to help you achieve your desired results.

Align for Success

Once you’ve collected a wealth of information across teams, work together to align it with organizational objectives. Ensuring your data strategies live up to the objectives and values that your organization works to deliver is key to defining future success.

Developing a charter with leadership buy-in will support the review of resources and tools that contribute to your data strategy success, the HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence Committee noted.

Finding a way to make big data work for everyone is not always a seamless experience. But by planning first steps carefully and collaboratively before diving in, your organization will get closer to obtaining actionable information for future success.


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Originally published December 28, 2018