Data is everywhere in healthcare and has huge potential to be tapped into to realize great value. When done correctly, both quantitative and qualitative data can illustrate opportunities for improvement and demonstrate need for change. Quantitative data provides concrete trends and pain points to improve which become quite powerful when paired with quantitative data, which colors experiences with emotions, insights, and observations. . Combining both creates a convincing story of the current state and reveals root causes of pain points and what brings joy for employees, leaders, and patients.The data analyzed can provide a foundation for improvement projects by allowing a deeper understanding of current processes and experiences from as many perspectives as possible.
Storytelling through data provides clear messaging that evokes a reaction and demonstrates a clear understanding rather than only relying on hard numbers, and can be used on every level of an organization, benefiting both employees and senior leadership. Strong messaging can be persuasive for those who are adverse to change or those who do not prioritize change management efforts, as these messages are easier to remember and connect with an organization’s mission. Quality data informs leaders and stakeholders of the current state of the organization, leading to smarter decision-making and adding value to those decisions. Analyzing data becomes less needed as trends are identified, which can help future improvement projects move forward.
There is a wealth of data available within healthcare that can be identified by studying current systems and processes, as well as interviewing and engaging with team members. The electronic health record (EHR) as well as shadowing, or being a process observer, yield tremendous amounts of quantitative data. They both are capable of revealing metrics like utilization, occupancy, efficiency, and more. Shadowing offers a unique perspective in that data can be collected at close range and with key attention to detail; time studies on items like physician-patient interaction can be captured which the EHR cannot. Additionally, shadowing allows for collection of qualitative data by providing the opportunity to talk with point of care teams and understand their feedback, ideas, and experiences. Qualitative data can be collected through direct observations or tools like surveys or asking conversational questions like “What matters to you?”, which are designed to elicit open-ended responses from employees focused on what matters to them in their work and wellbeing. Analyzing unstructured data takes time and human effort, but organizations who do so learn from the information they have gained are able to implement change that their teams want and care about
Once healthcare organizations have analyzed data from patients and team members, the information gleaned can be used to eliminate pain points on the patient side and the employee side. On the patient side, shadowing data can reveal activities or conditions that are negatively affecting patients, such as long wait times or repeated miscommunications with clinical staff. For staff such as point of care teams, data can be used to improve workflows and engage employees through asking “What matters to you?” to learn about employees’ perspectives and values, and making efforts to implement these values into the workplace. These efforts can increase productivity and retention rates by promoting employee satisfaction and appreciation.
October 7, 2022