What is the Right Level of Data to Improve Health Outcomes?

The Importance of Having the Right Level of Data

When it comes to quality improvement, we have all experienced one of the highest sources of frustration at some point or another.  I’m talking about the level of data not being sufficient for the those that are accountable for results.

Each level of an organization requires specific levels of information.  This seems very basic and is generally understood, however, most systems struggle to deliver tailored report to meet the different needs of key stakeholders throughout organizations.

Most organizations seem to start with very high level reports.  They then spend a great deal of time focusing on going wide rather than deep.  This is a mistake.

There are Levels of Reporting Needed to Improve Performance

Let’s start with the executive leaders, which could include service line and clinical program administrators.  This group is looking for service line or practice level performance at a high level.

Next, we have the front-line leaders and physicians.  This level is looking for overall and peer performance within a particular group.  It allows them to look at individual providers and identify best practices.

Finally, other team members such as health coaches, nurses, and medical assistants require another drill-down into patient-level data.  This allows them to develop specific interventions to address specific needs for specific populations.

Well, if it’s so straightforward then why do so many systems struggle?  The reasons are usally:

  • Real-time integration of EMR and claims data requires advanced data capabilities 
  • Multiple views for multiple users requires building different levels which is labor intensive
  • Patient data raises concerns about security which triggers compliance and legal team input

Next, a look at the importance of including Physicians in the conversation.