The Importance of Healthcare Analytics Education

Some of the smartest people in the world will tell you that they are never done learning. Most of us don’t have to be enrolled in college in order to learn more, on-the-job experience, and some daily requirements will provide new and expanding knowledge for which to draw. So, the question then is: why should I need continuing education for healthcare analytics where I have to leave the comforts of home and routine, only to go to something I don’t know much about? Simply put: because it will make all the difference in the world.

If you just rolled your eyes, and are now hovering on the back button, hold off for just a moment. Data analytics, especially in healthcare, is the difference between improvement and efficiency as compared to working from a system that could have been based off a model from the early 70’s. Obviously, a lot of progress has been seen in just about every industry since then, and no one is clamoring to get back those days of convoluted and slow computer technology.

A system rich in analytics is most basically stated to provide more with less. And, within the healthcare industry that is a paramount mandate. New regulations coming down from government agencies are working to find any reason to reimburse facilities less. More recording and reporting is meant to create transparency in all organizations. Outcome improvement is not only expected from patients but documenting is also required. To remain current and responsive, you need the power and knowledge that analytics provides.

Analytics, especially in healthcare, is not something you just pick up by watching others. This is where the continuing education for healthcare analytics plays such a vital role. I guess you could compare it to working with a program like Word or Excel; there is some of what you do in these programs that is pretty self-explanatory, yet there are all those buttons at the top that you never use, don’t know what they even do and you’re afraid to try them out. Once you learn what a few of them do, and realize that these processes could have helped you long ago, you are more willing to learn more and apply your new found experience.

Working in an analytics software program is much the same, some is going to be straightforward and easily understood, but the true power of the program lies with what is underneath the basic grasp. And, when you are working with millions of dollars, people’s lives and livelihoods, regulations and other outside pressures, the need for deep insight into what the data can do for you isn’t merely a desire to apply the knowledge but an outright necessity. So, where do you gain the awareness of not only how analytics can be applied but where and what it can do to change the ineffectual processes within your organization?

Purposes for Attending the Summit

The Healthcare Analytics Summit presented by Health Catalyst is specifically set up and designed for this purpose. This isn’t intended to be a dry and boring array of lectures that will make you wish you were anywhere else but there, instead Health Catalyst has worked to bring powerhouse speakers with unique views and experiences, activities built to help understand concepts in a slightly different way and engaged networking to develop associations that will help support you much later on. Specifically, there are many challenges that will be tackled during the summit that include:

  • Creating a more thorough analytics strategy
  • Creating a fully comprehensive executive or departmental report that provides an accurate picture of what is going on
  • Moving everyone onto a centralized analytics program as soon as possible
  • Tracking and measuring costs and wastes and prioritizing types of changes
  • Identifying your high-risk patients in order to provide better care
  • Expanding your base knowledge of the analytics systems
  • Overcoming obstacles within the system like siloed data
  • Helping to teach you to teach others how to utilize and access data within the system
  • Helping you teach those struggling within the system to get the support they need and find success
  • Learning about predictive analytics and where to start
  • Tracking new areas of interest, such as research, and produce clear reports on captured data

The Health Catalyst Summit is the perfect situation, in the perfect atmosphere to participate in the continuing education for healthcare analytics. There is no time like the present to make sure that analytics are working for your organization, and that nothing is going to waste.

The Role of Healthcare Data Analysts

For a healthcare data analyst, data from differing sources, which may be independent EHRs from multiple facilities, needs to be collected into a single resource. This resource, such as an enterprise data warehouse, as explained by Mr. Staheli, allows the healthcare data analyst to rapidly identify variations between similar patient experiences and how future experiences can be improved. As a result, changes in policy and procedure will reduce costs in healthcare and minimize errors inpatient treatment.

Furthermore, a healthcare data analyst carries the weight of quality-based measurements and reporting for a given healthcare organization. For example, the healthcare organization may want to collect information on readmission rates. However, accurate readmission rates must take new diagnoses and conditions that were previously non-existent into account. This prevents officials from CMS from assuming healthcare staff did not fully evaluate a person’s condition prior to discharge. To fully understand how this principle works, consider the following example:

A patient is discharged with gastritis without any indicators of appendicitis. After two days, the patient is readmitted for severe stomach pain. The physicians diagnose the patient with appendicitis and recommend an appendectomy. An initial report would seem to identify the patient’s readmission as the result of poor judgment at discharge. However, a clinical data analyst may be able to identify if outside factors contributed to the progression of appendicitis without a direct correlation to the diagnosis of gastritis. An extreme example could be severe food poisoning from a local venue on the day after discharge.