7 Ways Analytics Can Help Hospitals Gain Competitive Edge

In an August 29 webinar for Becker's Hospital Review, two experts from iVantage Health Analytics discussed seven strategies to compete using analytics. LeeAnne Denney, executive vice president, and Scott Goodspeed, DHA, FACHE, principal and vice president, stressed the need for hospitals to understand and analyze data in an integrated manner.

"Create an integrated data source so you have an internal perspective on clinical and functional benchmarking, and an external perspective on what's going on in the marketplace," said Mr. Goodspeed. "A lot of data are in silos, yet we need to see the interrelationships." By integrating all the organizations data and using a platform that allows for visualization, hospital executives and consultants can now have a birds-eye view of all mission critical data.

Here are seven ways data and analytics can inform a hospital strategy and help it gain better footing in the competitive healthcare landscape.

1. Understand the new healthcare reality. There are four components within the new healthcare reality: (1) changing the delivery model to population-based planning, (2) moving from volume to value through evidence-based medicine, (3) achieving physician alignment through linked incentives and (4) drastically reducing costs.

2. Understand hospital data and how it fits together. Hospitals' strategic decision-making is hampered by data that is in silos. This change may require a hospital to ask vendors and partners to work together. Hospitals need to take all their data – both proprietary data and publicly available data - and create an integrated platform.

3. Understand your performance compared to others. Ms. Denney and Mr. Goodspeed recommended that hospitals use iVantage's Hospital Strength Index, which is comprised of three categories: (1) market-strength, (2) financial strength and (3) value-based strength, which illustrates the metrics needed to move from volume to value.

4. Identify ways to improve through internal opportunities. There are two facets to this strategy: creating value and reducing costs. Armed with data, such as physician-by-physician cost of case, hospitals can identify the best ways to improve performance. For instance, hospitals may find 90 percent of their off-quality expenses and revenue loss is generated by 6 percent of their physicians. Such data enables organizations to identify a handful of improvements and strategies aimed at those specific physicians.

5. Identify ways to improve through market dynamics. This step has two components. One is an environmental and market assessment, which includes elements such as an overview of the service area and its demographics, competitive analysis, medical staff analysis, hospital analysis, hospital utilization patterns and financial trends.

The second component is geographic information system mapping, which highlights the interrelationships between the data through map layers. GIS mapping can show the relationship between demographics, population-based planning, high-volume and low-performing physicians, ACO and Medicare beneficiary files and the Hospital Strength Index. Hospitals can adjust layers — viewing only ACOs and performing physicians, or demographics and Hospital Strength Index, etc. — to see how any of these variables relate directly or influence one another.

6. Understand the relationship between internal performance and market dynamics. For this portion of the presentation, Ms. Denney used real-time GIS mapping to illustrate how analytics can inform strategy in a handful of different scenarios.

For one scenario, Ms Denney put the location of a hospital's ACO population on the map. By overlaying different metrics of other providers in proximity to the ACO population, she was able to point out the lower quality score of one of the other hospitals. The demo showed the impact of what happens if one of your ACO enrollees chooses the hospital with the lower score for their care — that hospital gets the patient, while you get to pay. Therefore, being able to look at multiple market and patient dynamics and their relation to each other is vital to survival.

7. Foster a culture of change. "There are three cultural styles we find in hospitals. One is constructive, another is passive/defensive and the third is aggressive/defensive," said Mr. Goodspeed. He touts a constructive style as the best fit for analytics, as this culture is linked to better execution of strategy, improved quality, engagement, retention, satisfaction, teamwork and positive financial results.

View or download the Webinar by clicking here (wmv).

Download a copy of the presentation by clicking here (pdf).

More Articles on Hospital Analytics and Strategic Planning:

4 Reasons Why Hospitals Fail to Create Strong Strategic Plans
Report: Hospitals' Use of Advanced Health Data Analytics to Spike by 2016
Building a Foundation Today for Analytics Tomorrow: Health IT Thoughts From IBM

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