For UC Health's first analytics chief, data-driven decision-making is the key to innovation and improved outcomes

In early July, UC Health announced the appointment of Michael Legg as vice president and the Cincinnati-based health system's first chief data and analytics officer.

Here, Mr. Legg, whose first day at UC Health was July 8, discusses how he is defining the new role and outlines his three main priorities as he begins the work of converting data analytics into an improved patient experience and more efficient organization.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: After only a few weeks on the job — and with your being UC Health's first-ever chief data and analytics officer — how would you define your role and responsibilities?

Michael Legg: My role is to help support UC Health's commitment to driving innovation, leading the way our system collects, interprets and uses data and analytics to enhance the delivery of care and achieve operational excellence. My responsibility is to make sure that I help remove any barriers for the people working to create analytics, as well as for those who rely on them to take care of patients.

Q: What are your main priorities and goals going into the role? 

ML: This is an exciting time at UC Health and I'm very lucky to be joining during this period of growth and transformation. My goals will continue to evolve as I learn more about the organization and my role develops, but I can think of three priorities that are equally important to the role, our mission, as well as to me personally:

  • Use data to create actionable and insightful analytics that allow our teams to deliver first-class care for our community.
  • Create a deeper culture of data-driven decision-making where data continues to allow us to achieve the highest performance and continuous improvement, supported by a formal process of gathering, interpreting and sharing data.
  • Coordinating and optimizing a robust data and analytics team and governance model built stronger with the right training, tools and opportunities to learn, contribute and innovate.

Q: Can you talk about any specific projects or initiatives you're excited to launch?

ML: My immediate focus will be on process and the people: the process by which the organization requests and consumes analytics, and the people who create and use them. With my new role, we have the unique opportunity to develop a process that simplifies how the organization requests and prioritizes new analytics, as well as how we access and interpret the wealth of data already available. 

When it comes to our analytics team, my first year is going to be focused on implementing new training on the latest tools and skills. For our clinical and operational people, we have a great opportunity to collaborate so that we can best understand their needs and help enhance how they interpret and use analytics for their decision-making. 

Q: What do you think will be the biggest obstacles to achieving those goals and implementing those initiatives? How will you overcome these challenges?

ML: While we reshape the process of how we create and use analytics, including enhancements to training and technology, we will still need to support the organization's needs and help it continue to move forward. In order to accomplish this, we have to make certain we are constantly communicating our plan and progress, while implementing change at a pace that is appropriate.

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