I read an article written by Tom Emerick in the Healthcare Blog called “Torture the Data Until It Confesses”, and it got me thinking. So, I used the old joke for the title to this article “The beatings will continue until morale improves,” because both Tom and I are using that play on words to say the same thing. Torture the data until results improve… or the data confesses!!! While Tom was focused on claims data, I believe that the concept applies to all data. I learned a great lesson many years ago, as we were developing an EIS (Executive Information System). We were giving data to a bright group of executives and not giving them the flexibility to torture the data dynamically. It turned out to be torture to them!!! In those days all the data was batch driven, so there was always a delay in the timing, which made the quality of the data, suspect. We all know when we’ve been in a train wreck, as we have the bruises and scars to prove it. What we don’t know is why we were in the wreck to begin with. Healthcare as an industry is desperate to be able to torture the massive amounts of data that we produce daily. We can’t change how and what we do to make our industry more efficient until we change the way we torture the data.
Today, we get data through a series of reports that are produced by all the siloed systems within the four walls of whatever care delivery system we’re working in. Typically, our method for torturing the data is to put pieces of the data reported manually into a spreadsheet to see answers to how we’re performing across the organization. This manual process, I submit, is a form of torture (think water boarding) in and of itself. How much time are we wasting chasing these reporting mechanism’s that do nothing but report back,” we’ve been in a train wreck”??? While I can’t give you a definitive number as yet, our development partner has told us they believe they save upwards of 30% of executive time by utilizing the G2 Works Platform. To be honest, we’re just beginning to scratch the surface on the number of Libraries and Apps within those libraries that will help folk’s torture their data. Let me be clear, we’re not a report writer and don’t want to be. There are lot’s of those out there. Our “Why”, is that we want to be the company that enables bright, intelligent executives to effectively torture their data to make their delivery system more efficient. We want to give them the ability to torture the data dynamically while the resolution has some meaning to enhancing how those services are being rendered. We want to create a platform that does not limit, but enhances those bright minds to challenge what they see, to avoid future train wrecks.
The good news is that technology has finally evolved to a point were all this is possible. And while our siloed systems are still siloed, and that’s not going to change anytime soon, we can invoke technology to help solve the data issue. Perhaps the “torture” metaphor is a little over the top for the healthcare industry. That said, it really does capture the essence of the problem. Maybe, just maybe, this is a form of torture we can all get behind. What do you think???