Let’s face it; the world of healthcare data, clinical data, and data analytics can be quite intimidating.

Buzzworthy terms like big data are thrown around all too frequently to impress, scare, and sell. Common practice highly encourages adoption of such terms as strategy.

I prefer to think about data in a much more real and relatable way. It’s not about big data or the complexities of fancy tools and data warehouses. Rather, it starts with small, simple questions.

For example, when it comes to your organization, jot down three top-of-mind questions that you really, really wish you had the answer to.

If I had to guess, having these answers would position your organization to

… delight your patients, or

… achieve better results, or

… strengthen financials

Or all of the above!

In reflecting on my time at a recent tradeshow, vendors of all shapes and sizes present a flood of options to fulfill your complex data needs.

Many look glitzy. Some promise amazing insight.  Others appear downright fun.

In this type of setting, these options are all so tangible, and oh so easy to fall in love with. However, when you look beyond the wrapper, can they answer any of your questions?

My experience in advising healthcare organizations is that many times the data solution can be found using existing tools and capabilities.   Effectively answering your question may require tracking a new data element or finding a way to deliver a critical report in a more timely fashion. The answers are often well within grasp without introducing a new whiz-bang tool.

Put simply, your data analytics approach should start with navigating a path to address your simple, yet vitally important questions. Your data analytics approach should not start with the investment in a tool or a platform or a warehouse.

May I suggest refusing to settle for perceived answers – those that overwhelm our inboxes and entertain us at tradeshows.

Instead, focus first on your small, simple questions.

Finding their answers will shape your data analytics approach… and often in a way surprisingly contrary to the popular, intimidating trend of big investment.

So, what are your questions? Please share – I’d love to help you find the answers.

Always here to help,