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Lessons Across Environments with Analytics

By 11.18.14
Reading time: 3 minutes

Have you heard of the “DOD Excess Property Program”? If you haven’t, long story short is that as an output of our wars in the Middle East, the US has a bunch of excess military supplies, gear, and vehicles that are no longer needed. Therefore, communities are able to buy, and in many times receive for free, these items to use.

Candidly, many of these items are incredibly unnecessary for domestic communities. Take the following image for example:

DOD Excess Property Program

If you can’t read the inscription, that says “San Diego Unified School District”. Equipment like this has prompted a national debate as to whether domestic militarization is occurring. That is not the intent of this article.

Instead, I bring this up because a close friend of mine recently saved a woman’s life by using another tool acquired from this same “excess property program” – a military grade tourniquet.

So what?

I have written a number of articles and white papers in the past on the topic of leveraging best practices from other industries to improve Healthcare. However, I have not written about how to learn from a variety of healthcare “environments” – and by environments, I mean different settings in which care is delivered.

Beneficial outcomes like the one outlined in the article were the same justification as to why the military a few years back made most active duty troops carry tourniquets because it resulted in saving lives at the initial point of care. Intentional or not, the transfer of tools and knowledge from the military to civilian environment is clearly reaping rewards. I can guarantee the military made this change through the use of data.

Are there other opportunities to leverage techniques, approaches, or tools from different environments? What about between rural and metropolitan hospitals?

It is critically important that we identify activities that drive great outcomes and rationalize how to embed these into guidelines, processes, and approaches for clinical and non-clinical interactions. However, it can not just be about one instance in which we see positive results (or negative) from a tool, approach, or technique.

Instead, referring to the scenario above, we need to know how many times across the US a military tourniquet was used and resulted in a positive outcome – this is a helpful metric that requires the analysis of large quantities of data. Expand this type of learning on a macro scale and it represents a another opportunity where technology can have a tremendous impact in healthcare.

Call it what you want – analytics works for me.

Data is a highly credible way to elicit change. Outside of the human component, each interaction at a clinical or non-clinical level is a data point. The struggle in Healthcare is that culling through data points like these, on a mass scale, has historically been quite challenging. Information is stored in disparate systems, with limited interoperability, and often is not truly actionable (i.e. not contextually relevant)

New tools that have been brought to the market, like Salesforce’s Wave will provide new frameworks to dissect this information. Wave takes analytics to the cloud with a mobile first focus, while also allowing dynamic interaction by business users, not just technical resources. Data, both structured and unstructured, can be viewed in interactive dashboards, lenses, and charts and be relevant for the present, rather than being stagnant.

Real-time access to analytics provides organizations with a robust tool to continually adapt workflows and process, across their technology backbone, to continually deliver the best products and services for its customers – when those customers are patients, visibility into this information is compounded.

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