Baptist Health charts data-driven course

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare, staying ahead requires a robust data strategy, Sha Edathumparampil, corporate vice president and chief data officer of Coral Gables, Fla.-based Baptist Health, told Becker's.

"Healthcare as an industry is constantly evolving, and being data-driven allows us to be able to stay agile and adapt to new trends, technologies and patient needs," he said. 

Becker's spoke to Mr. Edathumparampil about Baptist Health's data management and utilization initiatives and partnerships.  

Question: What are the key strategic initiatives or priorities for the health system in terms of data management and utilization in the upcoming year?

Sha Edathumparampil: There are several key ongoing strategic initiatives and priorities we are focused on in terms of data management and utilization. These include enhancing data security and privacy.

With the growing volume of sensitive patient data, we continue to prioritize robust security measures to protect against breaches and cyberattacks. This includes implementing advanced security tools and protocols as well as regular staff training on data privacy.

Another area is improving data quality and governance to ensure we have high-quality, accurate and consistent data. Our strong data governance framework helps us maintain data integrity, standardize data collection processes and ensure data is up to date and reliable.

Scaling advanced analytics and AI is another area of focus as we leverage statistical, machine learning and AI techniques to build and deploy capabilities that improve patient care, provider experience and enhance operational efficiency.

Lastly is enabling a data-driven culture as we aim to make data-driven insights easily accessible to employees. This involves training staff to utilize data effectively and making easy to use self-service tools available to them to use in their day-to-day jobs.

Q: Are there any new technologies or data analytics tools that the health system plans to integrate in the coming year to enhance data capabilities?

SE: Consolidation of data analytics capabilities into our cloud-based data platform is strategically important to us. Adoption of these new technologies allows us to respond to business data needs faster. Our road map also includes deployment of self-service tools that allow non-technical staff to leverage BI and AI capabilities to do their jobs better.

Q: Are there plans to collaborate with external entities, research institutions or technology partners to enhance the health system's data capabilities?

SE: The complexity and rapidly evolving nature of healthcare data management and analytics necessitate such partnerships. We partner with many of the largest technology companies and leverage the latest advancements in data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning that are being made available as scalable cloud-based or [software as a service] solutions that grow with our needs. Partnerships with academic and research institutions can accelerate innovation in healthcare. Several such partnerships already exist, and we continue to vet opportunities to grow this network and ecosystem. 

In fact, just recently, Baptist Health announced a collaboration with Florida International University that will ultimately expand physician training, research and patient care for the benefit of the community.  

Q: In the context of patient care, are there specific data-driven initiatives planned to improve patient outcomes and experiences?

SE: We are continuously enhancing our data-driven digital platform, PineApp, which includes a smartphone app as well as its companion website to enable patients to actively participate in their own care. PineApp features include the ability to book appointments, easily access and share health records, telehealth services for remote consultations, health trackers and reminders, real-time feedback mechanisms, and much more.

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