Albert Marinez, Chief Analytics Officer, Intermountain Healthcare
Nearly two decades ago, I was tapped to build a ‘balanced scorecard.’ You know the type: a series of board KPIs aligned to the organization’s strategic pillars. The requirements might be familiar: track performance from the executive level to the unit level, let people explore current and historical trends, give people the option of drilling into the details, and most importantly, give executives confidence in our trajectory.
In 2021, our Intermountain analytic teams are focused on the same thing: updating a balanced scorecard for our health system. While a lot has changed in the last few decades, much has remained the same: Most health system analytics teams are focused on building dashboards and reports, illuminating information and content that would otherwise be unavailable.
This is incredibly complex and important work. Sophisticated data models designed to reflect a dynamic healthcare landscape are supported by increasingly complex and real-time enabled engines. We’ve enhanced our AI and machine learning capabilities to take advantage of the vast amounts of data to drive better and more meaningful business and clinical insights.
Yet with all these exciting advances, most data and analytic resources still focus on a few specific areas: Creating meaningful dashboards, illuminating insights, and driving towards “actionable” analytics. These are good things, of course! Yet, when we consider the ubiquitous tech around us, the most powerful analytics are relegated to the background. Like most modern mobile apps, analytics is at work powering our routes to work, buying experience, and searches.
Analytics was never about reporting or a new dashboard. Instead, it should propel us to better outcomes. Analytics should glide into our workflows, assist with our decisions and help us achieve better results where possible. Whether automated or augmented, our decisions and ultimate actions should be better.
At Intermountain, we’re rethinking our approach to analytics—we are fundamentally altering how we think about the consumption of information and are guided by three simple principles to help us achieve breakthrough performance: Embed, Empower, and Engage.
We believe data is most powerful when people use it to inform decisions and drive interventions. When data is integrated as part of existing workflows, analytics are most powerful. We work to support reimagined workflows with advanced analytics. We pursue analytics strategies that ensure caregivers have the data they need in a way that is actionable and usable in the context of where those decisions and interventions are made.
We believe all caregivers should be empowered with data at their fingertips, accessible at the speed of thought, and able to support decisions in real-time in the conference room or on the go. Caregivers are typically under extreme cognitive loads. Instead of asking them to conform to our paradigm of data consumption, we should instead adapt to their reality and introduce new approaches that make their care and performance more effective.
"We believe all caregivers should be empowered with data at their fingertips, accessible at the speed of thought, and able to support decisions in real-time in the conference room or on the go"
Our Empower principle supports analytics strategies and capabilities that bring data closer to our users, regardless of background, and equip and train them to grow in their use of information. All this is driven by our conviction that analytics strategy is a business strategy infused with empowered digital tools. We can only realize true analytics potential when all caregivers, across all roles throughout the enterprise, have the right and responsibility to use data to help deliver on our organizational mission, helping people live the healthiest lives possible. We want to develop an enterprise culture and capability where actionable insights drive health and well-being. With more caregivers effectively equipped to use data, the traditional bottleneck that analytic teams experience begins to shift as we prioritize the things that matter. Importantly, the organization’s performance increases with higher and deeper engagement from a broader user base.
The Engage principle is about how we support our business and clinical operations in close partnership—rethinking and reimagining the solution space where analytics can bring value. Developing a new class of products and services, we believe product thinking will help us shift from supply and demand, to creating data products our business partners love and that create sustainable economic value.
What does this look like in practice? At Intermountain, we’re reframing and upskilling our analytics caregivers to think differently. This means not jumping into solutions, but understanding the problem space deeply and from every aspect: the consumer, patient, caregiver, and leader. It means integrating a human-centered design approach that embeds analytics where it will impact users most. It means working with our internal business partners to reframe how we approach problem-solving. This is new for them too! We’ve captured these principles in a ‘Decision Intelligence’ masterclass we’re using to socialize these concepts across the organization and serve as an investment in our workforce.
The cognitive load healthcare workers are under is immense. Analytics is critical to support business and clinical operations. Still, we must make it easy and intuitive. We will enable new processes and tools reimagined with analytics. It’s time we rethink not just what we can do with analytics but how. Embed, Empower, and Engage for breakthrough performance!