Advocate's 'thoughtful' approach to data

Advocate Health formed as a merger between Charlotte, N.C.-based Atrium and Chicago and Wisconsin-based Advocate Health Care in 2022, and the IT team has spent the last year integrating systems.

"We have been very thoughtful in how we are approaching our integration, and that comes across in a number of ways," said Tina Esposito, senior vice president and chief data officer at Advocate Health in a recent episode of the "Becker's Healthcare Podcast." "In my world, we've focused on ensuring there is a framework around coming together as it relates to data governance, responsible AI and how we consider AI as a tool for us and how we would innovate and deploy it."

It has taken time and care to bring the legacy teams together and assure they're aligned accordingly as a new entity. Given the size and scope of Advocate Health, sprawling across the East coast and upper Midwest, the leadership team is developing a new strategy going forward focused on teammate experience.

Everyone has to understand the value of bringing both organizations together and see where they belong within the new entity. Combining the mindshare of the leaders and teams can create new energy and boost clinical, operational and financial metrics overall.

"Our safety and health outcomes, for example, have surpassed even some of the legacy efforts we had," said Ms. Esposito. "There's different ways of measuring it, but it's important just to be thoughtful about how we come together before we actually do. Let's think thoughtfully about how we're going to do [a new project] before we hit go."

On the technology side, Advocate Health is moving to the cloud and creating a modern data platform.

"As we think about not only modernizing our data but creating a platform that will enable us both from an advanced data science perspective, and AI perspective, bringing that together has been a couple years of really thoughtful planning," she said.

Ms. Esposito said Advocate will continue to build out its cloud strategy over the next few years and move more data into the cloud because it enables the system to pull disparate sources together in a technically appropriate way, and share information with the right people to leverage as part of their work in operations, strategy and clinical care.

The leadership team is also breaking down barriers between teams so operations and strategy can connect the dots between their accountabilities. Operations needs a straight line of sight into the issues others in the organization are focused on, and vice versa.

"How do we get ourselves much more in the operator's shoes so that we can better partner in a way that will help them be successful as well? [We have] a lot of work going on as it relates to triaging, as it relates to staffing, as it relates to how we connect and who we have these conversations, and ultimately identifying what the most important work needs to be done," she said.

As the business of healthcare changes, Ms. Esposito says flexibility will be essential to moving the needle on bringing more value into the health system. But the patient should stay at the center of the incredibly complex healthcare system.

"There's still a core that needs to be about the patient and always as such, but these organizations have become incredibly complex and there's affiliations and there are other aspects of the business that we just really need to make sure we're aligning ourselves accordingly," she said. "How we've always been doing the work may not be the way that we should be doing it in the future."

Ms. Esposito is excited about enabling technology through AI or other digital technologies, to quickly pilot, understand and incorporate new technologies or novel ways of doing work within the organization to make it more efficient. There is value in ensuring a very focused approach to data management and use, not just pulling data.

"How do we make that clear? How can we better guide? How can we better consult so that ultimately things are action oriented in a way that would deem us successful or help us close the gap or perhaps realize the strategy that we are deploying," she said.

In the coming years, Ms. Esposito and her team will continue to double down on data literacy as well so there is a mutual understanding on how to apply data analytics. That way everyone understands the business issue the team is trying to solve for and how to leverage data for more meaningful outcomes. It can also bring together different departments so the IT team can better support the overall organization.

"Having meaningful conversations on how to be successful together makes a huge difference in the data and analytics space," she said. "I think a huge component of this is data literacy and this notion of understanding what needs to occur in order for something to be very successful with data."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars